Like a swimmer follows the black line in a pool, so Two Wells icon, Dianne Meaney, for many, many years followed the white line of our country’s open roads.
At a special dinner held in Alice Springs on Saturday August 29, Di was inducted into the Australian Road Transport Hall of Fame.
Her husband Malcolm, who died 10 years ago from cancer, was also recognised with a posthumous induction.
Di was one of around 270 people inducted into the hall of fame, and was one of only two women inducted this year.
She began her truck driving career in the early 1970s, driving road trains all around Australia, with regular trips to Moomba in the state’s north delivering supplies, pipe casings and chemicals.
The business was a family affair, with the couples’ three children, Daniel, Marie and Chelsea also spending many hours on the road in their younger years.
The Meaney’s carted fuel and bitumen, often taking road trains to remote areas of the country, and for many years were also carting local farmer’s grain during harvest.
“We carted to the Aboriginal communities a lot and went out into the APY Lands many times,” Di explained.
“We also started doing a lot of bitumen carting, all over Australia.
“We went as far as Queensland, up to the Northern Territory and over to the West Coast.
“We also had our grain carting, we had that for ever and we did that in the grain season.
“We carted much of the local farmers’ grain.”
Di stopped driving trucks in 2012 and now at a young 73 years old, looks back on her years on the road with fondness.
“I’d still do it now but it was starting to get a little bit hard on my body,” she laughed.
“I loved driving and going distances, seeing the countryside and meeting people. “I’ve met some wonderful people over the years.
“I just enjoyed the travelling.
“Travelling 3000km doesn’t faze me at all.”
While Di knew of and was thrilled at Malcolm’s inclusion into the road transport hall of fame, her induction came as a big surprise.
Unbeknown to her, Di’s family had also nominated her for the special honor and she was shocked to discover only hours before the ceremony that she too was being recognised.
Di attributes much of her road driving skills and knowledge to Malcolm, saying he was always interested in machines and had studied to become a diesel mechanic.
“Malcolm was a very versatile person, he was one of the old school who if he broke down on the side of the road he would fix it up himself,” Di said.
“We didn’t have mobile phones like we do today so he had to get out of any scrapes himself.
“He was very clever like that, he could turn his hand to anything and he was a great mentor for me.
“I think I did the longest apprenticeship of truck driving there is because even in the last few years he would sometimes say I’m not doing it right,” she added with a laugh.
Other locals to also be inducted into the Australian Road Transport Hall of Fame include Billy Cutting, Peter Hart and Malcolm Coombe.
Congratulations to you all!