Transport Women Australia are sad to learn of the recent passing of Lady Johnny Southern.
She was a real pioneer and legend in the Transport Industry and like so many of our hard working pioneers, was flat out just doing her job and not out there promoting herself or her achievements.
In 2003 Transport Women Australia assisted a nomination for Lady Johnny for the then “Goodyear Highway Heroes” award for her selfless act of putting her own life at risk to avoid the potential for other motorists to come to harm.
Unfortunately she did not win the award but we held her in high esteem for her selfless act of bravery.
Words from the nomination –
On 7 January 2003 Lady Johnny was travelling north driving between Narrandera and Goolgowi (49 kms North of Griffith) on her way to pick up her second load of wheat. On the Kidman Way at @ 1.50pm, just before the Mirool Ck Bridge, a bogey wheel trailer laden with a plastic fuel tank full of fuel, towed by a 4 wheel drive ute, came unhitched and careered across the path of Johnny’s truck.
Fearing the worst she veered off the road and went down an 8 foot embankment to avoid involving other vehicles. The trailer struck Johnny’s truck and exploded into flames immediately engulfing the truck.
The truck was well alight, and Johnny tried to open the door but it was stuck. She wound down the window and tried to climb out, however her foot was stuck, so she had to lever herself back into the truck to release the foot. On her way climbing out again her elbow got stuck in the mirror frame, but the cabin was now alight and she decided that her arm was coming one way or the other.
Johnny reefed her arm out gashing it badly and fell to the ground on burning grass. She picked herself up and went back to check that no one else was hurt.
The worst of her injuries were a badly cut hand, gashes to her forehead and a deep cut to her leg.
By that stage there were plenty of people and vehicles around, one of these was a Highway Patrol officer who had been close by when the accident happened. He had felt the explosion and called for the Fire Brigade and Ambulance.
Rest in peace Lady Johnny and our sympathies are with family and friends.