On this day 28 years ago, Australia prematurely lost one of its most respected and revered transport pioneers – Noel Buntine – at just 66 years of age.
On the brink of retirement, Noel was taking a break on the Gold Coast while contemplating the next phase of his life which, undoubtedly, involved breeding and racing horses.
Over the years, from the days of Co-Ord in Alice Springs in the 1950s to Buntine Roadways which covered the top half of Australia and, eventually Road Trains of Australia, hundreds of drivers, many of whom spent a large portion of their working life, driving for Noel. Many of those drivers made it onto the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame, a project of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame (NRTHF), which he supported wholeheartedly and financially, although he did not live to see it come to fruition. He was posthumously included in the first batch of inductees in 2000. The main exhibition hall at the NRTHF, and the first building on the site, was the Buntine Pavilion.
Numerous other memorials and acknowledgements of Noel Buntine followed his untimely death, including naming of a section of the Buchanan Highway as the Buntine Highway and a monument erected in October 1996. The horse racing industry also remembered Noel; there is a Buntine Road at the Darwin Turf Club, Fannie Bay, also a plaque in his honour, where he was a life member as well as a racehorse owner-trainer.
For more information, see The High and the Mighty: The Noel Buntine Story, available from www.freestylepublications.com.au or selective outlets.