The Darwin Convoy

In 1947, a crew of seven volunteers from the City of Northcote travelled all the way to Darwin’s disposal sale. The purchase was to bring back home 8 motor trucks for Brunswick Council and spare parts for Northcote Council.

Councillor J.W. French and Mr. V. J. Bradley (Northcote City engineer and consultant engineer to Brunswick Council) arrived in time to the sale to bring home the motor trucks. One crewmember was already driving the break down truck so Councillor French volunteered to drive one back to Melbourne.

The next 2000 miles home, an adventure awaited them all. Miles and miles of flat road then 2 inches of rain had fallen making it impossible to drive through the mud. Deciding to drive before dawn and after dark with only a compass to guide them on an open unstructured road lead to many miles of dust clouds.

By now, they have reached New South Wales and the speed limit increased to 30mph. The nights were cold and the days were hot and annoying insects such as the sandflies, mosquitoes and the 5-inch in length moths at nights. Along the way, interested buyers tried to purchase the motor trucks for instance one buyer travelled 50 miles willing to pay 2000 pounds for a big Mack truck when only bought for 800 pounds. Once they reached their destinations, the drivers all went home to a hot bath and a good meal.

Darwin Convoy arrives in Northcote (1947, 11 June).  Northcote Leader (Melbourne, Vic.:1882- ), p.1