Driving tales

 
  Olga Nichols recalls learning to drive her father’s timber truck when she was just 13.

Olga Nichols recalls learning to drive her father’s timber truck when she was just 13.

By Daisy Baker
May 17, 2017

Olga Nichols grew up in Queensland’s Upper Coomera where her father owned a timber truck business. When her cousin who had been driving the timber truck was called to war at the outbreak of World War II, 13-year-old Olga was asked to leave school and take on the job.
“We went out one day and Dad taught me how to drive. I was driving it for a few years, loading the logs onto the truck,” Mrs Nichols says.
“They’d pull them out of the bush and get them into a heap and I’d load them on to the truck and then we’d load them onto the railway truck that’d come out from Brisbane.”
When she turned 16, her father took her down to the police station to get a driver’s license – something a young Mrs Nichols had never heard of.
“I asked Dad what the policeman would expect me to do and he said that I’d probably be expected to drive him around a bit,” she says.
“We went down and the policeman handed me my license. I said ‘don’t you want me to take you for a drive?’ and he said ‘no love, I’ve been watching you drive around for years’,” she laughs.
There was an army camp near her house and Mrs Nichols fondly recalls the many occasions soldiers would jump on the back of her truck as she was driving past.
“The soldiers used to stay at a camp behind Mum’s place and they’d walk down the hill to dances. We used to walk down too,” she says.
“We were at a dance one night and one of the soldiers said to his mates, pointing at me, ‘I’m going to take her home tonight’ and sure enough he did. And he took me home every night after that.”
In January 1946, Olga married Oscar Nichols and moved to Tasmania where he grew up. Oscar was raised in West Pyengana and during the war his family moved to Legerwood.
The newlyweds bought their own farm in Legerwood and Mrs Nichols was the only woman in the area with a driver’s license.
“We’d go down and milk the cows morning and afternoon and I’d feed the calves while Oscar was doing other jobs.
“I had to separate the milk from the cream and put the cream in cream cans for the cream truck. The butter factory was in Legerwood at the time.”
The couple lived on the farm for more than 30 years and Mrs Nichols says between farm life and raising five children, she was always busy.
Mrs Nichols moved to Scottsdale in 1988 and her son Danny took over running the farm at Legerwood. Mrs Nichols now lives in Aminya.