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Channel 19

Todd Dills

‘Truckin’ Life’ magazine founder remembered

| September 16, 2009

Truckin’ Life is Australia’s premiere trucking magazine for owner-operators: in certain ways, it shares with its American counterpart in Overdrive a defining mission, clear from the tagline that adorns its cover, “The voice of the Australian trucker.” Truckin’ Life‘s founder, Malcolm B. Johnson (pictured, courtesy Truckin’ Life), suffered a heart attack July 31 and passed away in early August.

According to former Truckin’ Life managing editor Jim Gibson, writing Johnson’s obituary in Truckin’ Life recently, the first edition of that magazine appeared in May 1976, spearheaded by Johnson’s efforts.

His inspiration? “Malcolm got the idea for the magazine while enjoying several large drams of amber fluid at a Brisbane Truck Show,” Gibson wrote. “He was leaning on the bar at the show listening to drivers’ beefs. A few days later he got his hands on some copies of an American truck magazine called Overdive, courtesy of one of those drivers. He studied its editorial policy and found the conditions Australian drivers worked under were similar to those of their U.S. counterparts. Its tagline was, and still is today — the voice of the American trucker.”

  • Robert Orr

    I had the experience of working with Malcolm in the early 70’s and our paths criss-crossed over the years. He was ‘larger than life’ – an incredible character. Sadly,I only learned of his death today, Jan 10, 2010. A daub of bright colour has gone from the Australian canvas.

  • Roy Smith

    I featured in the first edition of Trucking Life.
    I had just purchased 3 new Fusos trucks [worse luck]1 bogie drive and 2 single drive with v8 diesel motors, and he asked me to submit a story.

  • Jeanette Madill

    I have the first five editions, does anyone know what they would be worth today….

  • john ‘The Ferret”moran

    I wrote the gossip column for almost 17 years for T.L. and the People column for almost as long and wrote lots of pictorials about truck shows and the like, Malcolm was a very good friend of mine for a very long time and I will always be grateful to him for giving me the chance to become what i have miss ya old mate.

  • Malcolm Dinham

    Hi. I was with Johnno that night at the truck show and suggested to him that what Aussie truck drivers wanted was an Aust. version of the American Overdrive mag. This started off a long term friendship with Malcolm B.J.Taking him up to Fisher park at top of Cunninghams explaining to him all the diffeent axle configurations etc and then getting him a lift with another truck back to Bris. Helping to distribute the mag to truck stopsthroughout Australia etc. Could go on for hours about him and am certain those who know him and worked with him will understand and agree that he was one hell of a man and will be sadley missed by all. RIP old mate. Mal Dinham (Dinno) strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.