HORSHAM’s Vern Walker and David Clyne have spent a combined 99 years delivering petrol to the Wimmera and its farms and businesses.
Mr Clyne and Mr Walker both retired from Lowes Petroleum Service BP on the same day – after 17 years working together.
“We both left on April 1. Two old fools leaving on April Fools Day,” Mr Walker joked.
Mr Clyne drove the fuel delivery truck around Horsham, Nhill and Hopetoun delivering to customers then returned to the Mill Street depot.
Mr Walker would then take over and drive the truck to Melbourne to pick up more fuel.
“I don’t know how many kilometres we’ve done,” Mr Clyne said.
“We had a Kenworth that did 1.3 million kilometres but we’ve had a few trucks since then.
“I’ve had one traffic infringement in my own car but I’ve never been fined while driving for BP.”
Mr Clyne, 75, started working as a delivery driver in 1963 for Shell then moved to Woolman Petroleum and then BP.
“I’ve worked in the petroleum industry for 54 years … 54 years and one month,” he said.
“I was always a truck driver. I never got a promotion.”
He said the petroleum companies used to have a lot more smaller trucks but transitioned to semi-trailers.
“They used to have big offices with salesmen and office girls,” he said.
Mr Clyne said he had got to know a lot of the farmers around the Wimmera while delivering to their farms.
“Some of them followed me when I moved to BP,” he said.
“Sometimes I’d start dealing with the sons of farmers I’d worked with.
“I still get to see them in the street and in the shops.”
Mr Walker said a lot had changed in his 45 years as a driver.
“We used to deliver fuel and then climb up on top with the dipstick and measure off,” he said.
“It was pretty much an honour system.”
Mr Walker and Mr Clyne each have six grandchildren and both look forward to spending more time with them.
Mr Clyne has started a few garden projects while Mr Walker is still working on a casual basis.
Mr Clyne’s grandson Joel Freijah said it was good to see more of his granddad.
“He can take us to more activities like basketball,” he said.
Both Mr Clyne and Mr Walker said they could still drive well but did not want to continue to the point where their skills deteriorated.
“There are a lot of check ups and safety courses at BP but I’m 75 and it could be too dangerous if something went wrong,” Mr Clyne said.
“We’re walking away while we’re still mates,” Mr Walker said.
“I’m giving it up while the getting’s good on my own terms. How many people can say that?”