Thora Daphne HOLZHEIMER
Also known as: née Bishop, Toots
Born: 5 July 1934
Died: 29 February 1992Additional Information:
*“First female truck driver to clock up over one million miles driving through some of Queenland’s most inhospitable terrain – Cape York Peninsula. Toots delivered freight to the northern tip of Australia for over thirty years, servicing her own trucks, loading them by hand (no forklifts in the early days), and then driving for hours and hours on roads that could not be called roads. Toots battled corrugation, washouts, melon holes and bull-dust to get the freight through. She dug her way out of bogs as she coaxed her Old Girl, a MAN diesel, up and down the steep, rocky slopes of the Great Dividing Range. She gained a reputation for being the first truck in after the wet and the last one to leave. She was also affectionately known as the Country Shopper as she would go out of her way to purchase the little extras, that city folk take for granted, for the ladies on the Cape.”
*Information, photographs, and news clippings provided by her daughter Donna Vawdrey, October 2011.
Daughter Donna Vawdrey wrote the book Toots. Woman in a Man’s World “that describes what it was like for a lady to drive trucks in this male dominated profession.”
“Peter Luck did a TV show on Toots and one of her trips. The show was called The Australians and went to air in 1981. Many other TV shows have also featured Toots and her exploits.”
Eley, Tristram. Cape Yorker Magazine. “Toots Holzheimer – A Woman Ahead of Her Time”. accessed 27 August 2010.
Martin, Elizabeth “Liz”. (1995). Australia’s Road Transport Heritage. Alice Springs, NT: Liz Martin:p. 117-118.