Workhorse of war roars on in Port Fairy 

HOWARD Wilson is driving a piece of World War II heritage after rescuing a rusty relic from a paddock.

His 1943 Mack cargo truck was used to haul war supplies from Alice Springs to Darwin in convoys after the Japanese bombing raids in 1942.

Nowadays it has a more leisurely life on display outings, including the New Year’s Eve procession in Port Fairy towing another war veteran — a Dodge gun carriage used by the US Army in the Pacific islands.

The retired farmer formerly of Woorndoo and now of Port Fairy says he spent 1600 hours restoring the Mack.

“I made one good truck out of two. One had been in a paddock for 37 years, the other was stored in a shed,” he said.

“I heard they were at Dunkeld and persuaded the owner to sell them in 2009.”

He had a manual and took photographs of another restored truck in New South Wales to copy intricate canvas tops.

The Mack is a 10-tonne, six-wheeler with four-wheel-drive and powered by a 519-cubic-inch, 130-horsepower Lanova diesel engine.

It ran in convoys of 40 trucks between the Alice Springs rail depot and the outskirts of Darwin.

After the war one of Mr Wilson’s trucks was used to haul bulldozers in NSW forests.

His Dodge is believed to be one of  only two of its kind restored in Australia. 

Howard Wilson from Port Fairy and his 1943 Mack military cargo transport.

Howard Wilson from Port Fairy and his 1943 Mack military cargo transport.


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