Keith’s vision started with school buses
Originally published by Deniliquin Pastoral Times, September 11 2018
The Purtill name is synonymous with the transport industry in Deniliquin and district, and that all started with Keith Purtill.
Born in Balranald in 1929, Mr Purtill found himself making the move to Deniliquin as a young man to join long-time family friend Neil Scott.
It was after arriving in Deniliquin the pair aspired to enter the transport industry.
At the age of 22, Mr Purtill established his own transport business — but not the trucking business he had always planned.
But his decision to start a bus business still satisfied his love of driving, and fixing heavy vehicles.
‘‘Keith’s original idea was to start a trucking business, but during the time after World War II there was a shortage of trucks available in the country,’’ Mr Purtill’s nomination read.
‘‘Instead he bought a bus and started to operate the Blighty to Deniliquin school bus run, beginning the important job of safely transporting the children of the Deniliquin, Finley, Hay and Wakool areas.
‘‘With a ready supply of buses standing idle during school hours and holiday periods, a move into tourism and travel was a natural progression.
‘‘A second-hand coach, the first of many, was purchased in 1976 which started the travel arm of the company.
‘‘These coaches now cater not only for school runs and excursions but many trips and charters.’’
With Mr Purtill’s purchase of his first school bus in 1951, he founded a diverse business that is still successful today and one that is still very involved in supporting its local community.
‘‘In 1974 Keith entered the fuel industry, firstly with rigid trucks and ultimately semi tankers (today b-doubles),’’ the nomination read.
‘‘In the late ‘70s, the Purtill family further expanded their transport interests to include founding Deniliquin Freighters, which would later ultimately transfer to the hands of Russell Tait.
‘‘Unfortunately, after overseeing the growth of his business for 37 years and being joined in the business by all six of his sons, Keith passed away 30 years ago — On April 1, 1988 — at the relatively young age of 59.
‘‘Despite not being blessed with a long life, his vision continues.’’
After more than 67 years of business, the Purtill company has expanded to include service stations, Wired Entertainment and Caltex bulk fuel distribution throughout the Southern Riverina.
Today, his son Neville and his family continue to build on Keith Purtill’s vision from 1951 with the support of a great team.