GALLERY: Oil Patch reunion an unqualified success
IT WAS an unqualified success.
The first ever Australia Oil Patch Reunion, held in March at the famed The Woolshed at Jondaryan, just off the Warrego Highway to the west of Toowoomba, was just that: an unqualified success.
Several hundred former oil exploration workers, from rig crew to pole and bed truck drivers to managing directors and even some currently engaged in the oil exploration industry, attended.
Many stayed overnight, others simply came for the day travelling to and from the venue via the courtesy buses that shuttled between Toowoomba and Oakey.
Workplace friendship and acquaintances were rediscovered and renewed with some spanning a loss of contact that in a couple of cases, stretched more than 40 years.
Organising committee chair Bryan Brown was overjoyed with the response, initially finding it hard to believe that so many people, former colleagues, friends and former bosses had made the time and had travelled so far to attend, but more importantly, they were all clearly enjoying themselves.
"Everyone came to catch up with old mates, to reminisce, to reforge old bonds, to share stories and to enjoy,” Bryan said.
"There was not an argument, a harsh word spoken or a complaint, all weekend.
"It's been a great atmosphere.”
Displays of memorabilia helped tell stories from the past with tables of old style metal oil field hard hats; books, brochures and oilfield exploration company newsletters; a collection of baseballs caps from a wide variety of exploration companies and suppliers; and a series of photo boards that highlighted the work of the crews, the conditions they worked in and that showed the rig trucks at work.
On the adjoining grounds three oilfield gin pole/bed trucks and a restored Western Transport's B615 Mack coupled to one of their earliest heavy duty flat-bed oilfield trailers, proved to be a major attraction that added an aspect of working reality to the weekend reunion.
Two of the bed trucks on display were in close to original working condition. The 6x6 White Road Boss on display was one of just four specifically built in Brisbane by the White Motor Corporation with the 6x6 conversion built by Tamanco Australia.
Originally built for Petroleum Drilling Services Australia as an oilfield support vehicle, the 1981 all-wheel drive Road Boss is powered by a Cat 3406B, has a gross vehicle mass of 31 tonnes and a gross combination mass of 65 tonnes.
When new it was the first oilfield support truck in Australia to be fitted with an hydraulically driven winch.
Now in private hands, it is currently being restored to full working order.
On display adjacent to the Road Boss was a Pacific oilfield support vehicle originally owned and operated by Oil Drilling and Exploration.
It is powered by an 8V92 Detroit through a 15 speed gearbox with deep reduction and a heavy duty rear end.
The fully imported right hand drive 6 x 6 Pacific, now owned by Ensign International Energy Services, is a former gin pole/bed truck.
It is fitted with a 50 ton Braden winch, has a 28 foot tray, has a tare weight of around 27 ton and is close to 10 foot wide.
Also on show, and only recently painted in the Neil Mansell Group's fleet colours, was the fully imported Canadian-built 8x8 left hand drive Kenworth C500 oilfield support truck.
It is powered by a Cummins ISX, is equipped with two high capacity winches and is fitted with a heavy duty Sisu rear end.
And when will there be another oil patch reunion in Australia.
"So soon after the success, the excitement and the hard work of the first one, we are undecided whether it will be next year or in two years,” Bryan said. "We can't thank those involved in helping to make it happen, enough, as well as to those who came along too. But there certainly will be another Oil Patch Reunion.”