MARSDEN, Pat

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2003.

Pat and her husband Alf started in road transport in 1951.  They bought their first new truck, a 5162 International in 1956.  About this time they slowly and "cheaply" built a depot at Clayton in preparation to start interstate work.

They were very tough times, but working together they always "came through".  During this time Pat collected spare parts and laughs as she remembers how she always tried to keep a lid on Alf's continual quest to get bigger and bigger.

In the early 1960s they  bought 3 Federal prime-movers.  They were considered "Big Time" in those days.  Pat Marsden still has one of these in the final stages of restoration.  Next came the Mercedes Benz and another growth spurt.  About 1972 Alf and Pat purchased land in South Clayton and built a bigger and better depot.  They are renown in their community for being very "hands on" in any of their developments.  They went through a stage of Internationals, ACCOs and then finally Kenworths.

Things were getting easier by now.  While Pat had more help in the office, she still had to be Jill of all Trades as many trucking wives do.  In 1982 they spent two years building a state-of-the-art depot and facilities in Sydney.  Alf designed and built the depot.  Pat was there as usual, working as tractor driver or pushing a wheelbarrow, a broom or a mop.  Like many women in the road transport industry she literally looked after every other aspect of the business while the man of the house drove the truck (or trucks).  This included finances, logistics, marketing, administration, cleaning and raising her family while simultaneously being 'at the ready' to cope with any breakdown or unforseen circumstance that always arise at the most inopportune time.  She was, many said, the back-bone of the business!

Their son, Brian, joined the business at 21 years of age.  While he had always intended to join the family business he was literally thrown in at the deep end and had to learn every difficult chore and manage the business from the ground up when his father, Alf, died unexpectedly in early 1995.  Pat, like she always had, remained the mainstay of the business and earned the respect of her peers and colleagues as she carried the business through this difficult stage with dignity and dedication.

Pat and her family decided to sell the business in 1998.  By then, it was a multi-million dollar operation.  She retired a short time later having spent over 40 years in the business and seeing many dramatic changes.  Her efficiency and dedication in managing a huge transport business certainly worked towards a slow but definate change of attitude towards the women, particularly by men, in the road transport industry.