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Old 20-12-2010, 07:04 AM
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Default Mailman of the Birdsville Track and legend in Stockman's hall of fame

Tom Kruse mailman of the Birdsville Track and legend in the bush, was inducted into the Stockman's Hall of Fame last week in Adelaide.

Chairman of the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, David Brook, presented Tom Kruse, MBE, with a life membership to the hall of fame.

"Tom is a remarkable person of great historic significance to our Australian way of life and we are very proud to induct him into the hall of fame," Mr Brook said.

"Tom is an important part of our Australian history, but he can't understand why so many people are interested in a bloke, who, as he says 'was simply doing his job'.

"Tom is important, because as well as being the quintessential Aussie bloke who worked hard and survived where many would have failed, he's a thoroughly engaging individual and a true gentleman in the old fashioned sense.

"In Tom's case, age has certainly wearied him, but we as a nation recognise the elements of larrikinism, fair play, determination, grit and adventure in his life, which most of us deep down, believe is the essence of being Australian."

Esmond Gerald (Tom) Kruse was born on August 28, 1914.

He is the 10th of Ida and 'Harry' (Henry) Kruse's 12 children.

His father was a blacksmith at Waterloo in the mid north of South Australia.

Tom is a very proud family man, being married to Valma for more than 68 years.

He is the father of two daughters and two sons, grandfather to eight and great grandfather to 18.

Tom was born and schooled at Waterloo, SA, and found his way early in his working life to Yunta, where he started his life with trucks and mail runs and the carrying of livestock and goods across the outback.

Tom Kruse achieved fame by being the subject of the award winning 1952 documentary film, The Back of Beyond.

He remains well known to many Australians for his exploits on the Birdsville Track and in the outback, including his involvement with Dr Cecil Madigan's successful 1939 crossing of the Simpson Desert.

Dr Madigan described Tom as the best bush driver anywhere.

A much larger and longer part of Tom's working life was his involvement with earthmoving.

He was involved with the early exploration of the oil and gas industry in the Cooper Basin, also as a contractor during the early days of Santos, the now very well known Australian oil and gas exploration and supply company.

Working in vast areas of pastoral and outback Central Australia, Tom and Val developed lifelong friendships and shared interests with these other 'bush people' as they had grown older together.

Tom was awarded an MBE for his services to the outback in 1955.

In 2000 he was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame and Australia post put his face on a stamp.

In 2003, he was officially recognised as an Outback Legend by Australian Geographic and both he and the Badger (Tom's most recognised mail truck) were nominated South Australian icons by the National Trust.

"It is an honour and a privilege today to have Tom Kruse in our company and we are delighted to now have him inducted into the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre," said chief executive officer, Ben Maguire.
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