These two restored Bean trucks evoke happy memories for Adrian Pollard, a retired, fourth-generation removalist from Goulburn. They resemble the two trucks his grandfather John Dalby Pollard bought in 1926.
John was well known for his brute strength lifting furniture.
In the early 1900s at a roller-skating rink in Sloane Street filled with hundreds of skaters and spectators, John hoisted a thumping big piano onto his shoulders and carried it up the triple-wide stairs. He lived to 82 and saw the Pollard business change from bullock teams to horses to motor trucks, including his two smart Bean flatbeds.
“They were the first two balloon-tyre trucks he ever bought,” Adrian said.
Manufactured in England, the Bean came to Australia as an engine and chassis. Their bodies were added in either Sydney or Melbourne. One of 10 children, John’s father had also come out to Australia from England. Born at Gretton, a village in North Hampshire, he too was named John. He teamed up with another businessman on the voyage to Sydney and the pair moved to Windsor.
John met and married a local woman, Henrietta Dalby, and they left after the Hawkesbury River flooded. They moved to Liverpool from where John started a business, carting timber for a new railway line heading south out of Sydney. The Pollard family grew over the following years living in Campbelltown, Picton, Marulan and Goulburn as the main southern railway line moved southwards.
The Pollards arrived in Goulburn before the railway did in 1869. They loaded the first bale of wool on a train at Marulan. Their bullock teams hauled goods between Sydney and Melbourne. His son John was born at Marulan. Joining the family business later, he worked there for 60 years.
Having fond memories of his grandfather’s Bean trucks, Adrian tracked down other Bean trucks more than 30 years ago. He located one in Burnie, Tasmania, and another in better running order from near Tamworth.
The Bean truck from Burnie was carried on the back of a trailer to Goulburn, where it sat motionless while Adrian left for a job out of town. While he was away, his son Phillip and daughter Karen found an old plastic petrol tank from a Victa motor mower which they hung on the Bean’s firewall. Adrian said they ran a pipe into the engine and managed to start up the truck.
When Adrian told fellow vintage car enthusiast Bruce Booby he intended dismantling the older Bean from Burnie for spare parts, his mate shook his head.
“You have to restore it too,” he said. Bruce then chipped in to give Adrian a hand, panel beating, spray painting and restoring the woodwork on the trucks. The Vintage and Veteran Car Club of Goulburn’s president, Bruce says that walking into Adrian’s shed is like going back hundreds of years in history. Inside the shed, an old horse-drawn vehicle and Common Knocker trucks stand as reminders of carrying railway sleepers, fence posts, wool bales and tonnes of household furniture.
Adrian retired as a removalist five years ago.
“I don’t miss the work, but I do miss communicating with people and hearing their stories,” he says. Pollards operated between Melbourne and Brisbane, but favoured southern NSW because it was more likely they would get back-loading jobs to help even out their running costs.
He worked with his brother Roger for a while, until he went out on his own, and another brother David, who left for a job at the Police Academy. His nephew James is the fifth generation Pollard in the removals industry.
One of Adrian’s more interesting courier jobs was taking a patient in an iron lung from Goulburn Base Hospital to Prince Henry Hospital in Sydney, with a doctor and engineer on board.
The trucking industry has come a long way from the days of bullock teams. Today furniture travels in huge vehicles along freeways more swiftly than the pioneering John Pollard could ever have imagined.