89-year-old says he’s probably clocked up 1,000,000 kms
YEPPOON'S Arthur Prowse loves to drive.
The 89-year-old says he's probably clocked up "close to a million kilometres, easily".
Easily would be an understatement.
His current car, the Toyota Camry he bought new in 1999, already has 220,000km on the clock.
As he recalls his travels (regular trips to Cairns and Brisbane, a round-Australia journey in 1961 and a trip across the Nullarbor) and the 11 years spent doing deliveries for James Stewart and Company in Rockhampton, it's easy to think the speedometer would have rolled into seven figures.
Arthur has been driving for 72 years and for 67 of them has been a member of the RACQ.
This week he and Kathleen Bunney were recognised as Capricornia's longest-serving RACQ members, both having joined the motoring club in 1947.
Arthur said he joined for safety reasons, comfortable in the knowledge he could call on the service if he struck any trouble on his travels.
"It's a wonderful service. Every time I've needed them, they were there."
Arthur has needed the RACQ about 15 times but only for minor things, such as flat batteries and flat tyres.
His first car was a 1939 Vauxhall Tourer. He bought it after leaving the army, having seen active service in New Guinea and Borneo in the Second World War.
"I bought it second hand and had it for about six years," he recalls. "It was a wonderful little vehicle. I wish I still had it."
Then followed a Hillman, a Datsun and three Holdens before the Toyota.
Arthur says the standard of roads and the proliferation of road rules are the two things that have changed most in 67 years.
"The roads ... well there weren't any roads in a lot of places in the early days, not like it is today with bitumen everywhere," he said.
"And the road rules, well it's a bit hard keeping up with them all but you gradually get around them."
Arthur has shared many of his journeys with Irene, his wife of 63 years.
They still enjoy regular trips to Gladstone and Bundaberg, but the longer distances aren't as manageable as in years past.
"I am still driving today and enjoying it all the time," said Arthur, who turns 90 next month.
"I don't consider myself an excellent driver but I am safety conscious."