IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: (From left) City of LIsmore RSL sub-branch treasurer Chas Clifford, car owner Allan Keys, and RSL sub-branch president Cecil Harris with the 100-year-old vehicle on display at the Lismore Square Shopping Centre.
IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: (From left) City of LIsmore RSL sub-branch treasurer Chas Clifford, car owner Allan Keys, and RSL sub-branch president Cecil Harris with the 100-year-old vehicle on display at the Lismore Square Shopping Centre. Marc Stapelberg

Historical WWI truck on display at Lismore Square

LOOKING at the rust-covered truck with its rotting planks and worn tires, it's hard to believe this century-old military vehicle is still as mobile as ever.

Apparently all it takes is a flip of a switch and a turn of the crank, and the 100-year-old petrol-engine transport truck splutters to life.

When it was fresh off the production line in 1916, the ¾ ton Model H International Tip Truck would have been driven by Australian soldiers around the Brisbane docks during the First World War.

Its military life came to end in 1932 when it retired to a farm and was spotted by Federal resident Allan Keys when he was 17.

Anzac display at Lismore Shopping Square: A display for the 100th anniversary of Anzac is currently at the Lismore Shopping Square
Anzac display at Lismore Shopping Square: A display for the 100th anniversary of Anzac is currently at the Lismore Shopping Square

The original owner was reluctant to part with it and it was seven or eight years before he passed away and his family "sold it in a flash" to Mr Keys.

The First World War truck is currently parked in the Lismore shopping square as part of an Anzac centenary display.

In the 35 years it's belonged to Mr Keys, the truck has travelled the country, appearing in different displays.

When it's not on show, the truck is one of 100 vintage and classic pre-1950 vehicles on Mr Keys Federal property.

The jewel in his crown is a rare M3L4 International short wheel base four-wheel drive cargo truck.

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"It was used to climb sand dunes in the Coral Sea in New Guinea area during the Second World War," he said.

"We know for sure they made 398 of them only and as far as we know there's only three left in the world."

Mr Keys said his passion for vintage and classic cars was sparked when his grandfather bought a Dodge car in 1927.

"It was given to me when 8-years-old and I still drive it to this day," he said.

"From there, one thing led to another and I'm just interested in old things."

The Model H truck is one of six of Mr Key's vehicles that will be on display at the Lismore Anzac ceremony.