What began as a simple promotions campaign, back in 1977, to market a new American Thermo King  branded semitrailer refrigeration unit, snowballed into an event of such proportion that it captivated the entire nation’s road transport industry.

Because the refrigerated unit was named after the fastest truck in the world the – Super Boss,  Marketing and Promotions Manager, Alan Pearce, decided to bring both the truck and its driver, Tryrone Malone, down under to challenge all commers to beat the yank during a series of quarter mile truck drag races.

That’s when entrepreneur Terry O’Hare committed his business, Centurian Transport, to take on the American by building the world’s first jet-truck which his wife, Heather named, Waltzing Matilda. And to achieve the unachievable Terry enlisted a dedicated and experienced team which included his sons, Stephen and Scott.  

A mere 8 weeks later and  Matilda, in all its glory with the jet-engine screaming and brakes locked-on, stood alongside the Super Boss at the Calder Park starting-line waiting for the green light.  Seated behind the wheel was none-other than Australia’s fastest drag racer, Larry “The Big-O” Ormsby raring to blow the doors off Malone’s boss-truck.

Two months later and  the “Big-O” was once again seated in Matilda, this time on a lonely Wycheproof road in an endeavour to smash Tryone’s long-standing world record over the flying mile. And Larry did by an impressionable margin. 

What followed was an extensive tour around Australia and New Zealand which thrilled tens-of- thousands of diehard fans who flocked to see the “Queen of the Tar” do her thing.


Terry “Tonka Toy” O’Hare was an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word. His lifelong motto, “There’s No Such Word as Can’t”, guided him through a hugely successful business career spanning 65 years until his passing in November, 2021.

One of Terry ’s greatest achievements was the “Queen of the Tar” , Waltzing Matilda, which he built in just 6 weeks. Matilda was his way of giving back to the Australian Road Transport Industry which had given him, and his businesses, so much.

His legacy and entrepreneurial spirit is represented in this book about the history of the remarkable Jet Truck



Stephen O’Hare has represented the O’Hare family ’s group of companies for over 45 years and was  Terry ’s right-hand-man before, during, and after the Matilda project. He was the second driver of the world’s fastest jet truck and spent 2 years traveling with, and promoting the vehicle’s capability throughout Australia.

Stephen operated a number of successful businesses in his own right and is still active as an industry consultant advising governments and corporate organisations alike on the special-purpose commercial-vehicle industry.

His firsthand knowledge of the Waltzing Matilda journey has been invaluable in bringing the book to life.



 Scott O’Hare was the youngest member of the Waltzing Matilda team, and lived and loved the experience through the eyes of an 11-year-old. He had a number of roles in his working career before joining Terry in his other great love, being on the water. He assisted his father with the building of the Anchorage Marina in Williamstown, and  currently runs a successful boat, sales-and- service business, in the same portside township.

Prior to Terry’s passing, Scott started interviewing his father about his remarkable life and is currently authoring a book. 

Scott has contributed sections of his upcoming book to the Waltzing Matilda story.  


Larry Ormsby was offered the challenge by Terry O’Hare to drive Waltzing Matilda and at the time he was driving a Top Fuel Dragster with Elapsed Speeds in the mid six second zone, along with Terminal Speeds in  excess of 220mph for the I/4 mile drag racing format.

The world record for the flying mile, along with other associated records set by the Jet Truck, at Wycheproof in January 1979, were a highlight of Larry’s career, and probably the most dangerous, given the limited road width and length he had to negotiate  as the fierce competitor he always was. 

During his long career in drag racing Larry has accumulated five “Nationals” championships and set numerous ET and TS records at various tracks. He was ANDRA Chairman of Honour from 1974-1979, inducted into the Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2019 for services to drag racing, and in 2023 he was invested with an OAM.



Alan began his advertising career as a graphic designer for Toppa holdings, a Melbourne based manufacture of a range of frozen food and pastry products. 

He then moved on to manage the national advertising and promotional needs for Transpec Holdings launching products such as Thermo King semi-trailer refrigeration systems. 

It was the Thermo King product range that led to Alan bringing Tyrone Malone down under with his Super Boss Kenworth to launch the SB-1 refrigeration unit, a promotional event that sparked Terry O’Hare’s desire to beat the Yank, during the Australian V’s American 1978 Truck Drag Series. 

That successful marketing spectacle also ignited another of Terry’s ‘never say can’t’ undertakings to steal the long standing, World’s Fastest Truck Record, from Tyrone Malone. And not surprising he did, with Waltzing Matilda and Larry “The Big O” Ormsby’s intrepid driving skills.

Alan went on to establish his own Marketing and Advertising company servicing the likes of Centurion Transport and other luminaries involved in the Australian road transport sector.