22 January, 2023
Book brings the Burt brothers memories back to life
AFTER four years of collecting and restoring photos and tracking down documented facts, Simone Tessmann and her family have published a 212-page pictorial history of Burt’s Transport, titled ‘Sawdust, Bitumen and Bulldust, a pictorial history of Burt’s Transport.
In 1922, Kilcoy brothers, Frank and George Burt established a hauling company.
Not long after, another brother, Harry, also joined the team.
The Burt brothers introduced mechanised transport to the region in 1922, and then in 1923 they starting carting timber from Jimna Sawmill to the Kilcoy Railway Station.
Prior to this the timber was hauled by bullockies to Yednia, then transferred onto the Leyland Trucks for delivery to Kilcoy.
Once they were able to drive to Jimna, their operations expanded to include Nanango, Elginvale and Benarkin.
Before the company was sold to Bechly’s Transport in 2017 and Burt’s Transport ceased operation in 2018, the company’s managing director was Bruce Burt, Simone’s father.
His father, Frank Burt Junior took over the reins of Burt’s Transport in 1956, before it was passed down to Bruce in 1996.
To recognise the contribution Burt’s Transport had on the Kilcoy and Jimna region, Simone decided to start collecting and restoring photos.
“I came to a realisation that unless I took on the digitalisation and restoration of the Burt Brothers’ early photos, they wouldn’t be around for the children and grandchildren of my generation,” she said.
“Many of the original photographs were close to 100 years old and coming to the end of their archival life.
“Some of the moments captured in the photos were pivotal to the progression of the Kilcoy and Conondale regions.
“From both a sentimental and historical point of view, this work needed to become a priority.”
Whilst Simone had originally planned on creating a “little” book for her father, Bruce, the project ended up “snowballing”.
She said Bruce’s good mate, James Mason, recognised the significance of the Burt brothers’ journey and volunteered to research and write a recount of the company’s history.
Simone’s sister Joanne Burt then volunteered to design the book.
Bruce said Joanne has worked internationally as a graphic designer and is “quite respected in her field”.
Simone said producing ‘Sawdust, Bitumen and Bulldust’ was a “team effort”, and after four years of hard work they were excited to officially launch it on Saturday December 3 at their “family and crew” reunion.
Held at the Kilcoy Exchange, this reunion and book launch coincided with 100 years of Burt’s Transport.
Simone said sales had already exceeded her expectations by far and she planned on donating some books to local schools and historical societies.
Anyone interest in purchasing ‘Sawdust, Bitumen and Bulldust’ is encouraged to message Simone on her Facebook page ‘Simone Tessmann Photography’.