Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005Barry John Lewis (aka B.J.) eked out a living as an interstate owner-driver during the early 60s from his home in Adelaide. He loved the transport industry, the characters, the mateship and the personal satisfaction of getting a load through, sometimes against amazing odds.
Not content as an owner-driver, Barry soon took up the challenge of owning his own transport company, purchasing Scotta Transport from his father-in-law, Beno Scotta. As a company owner, this only helped to further fuel his dislike for the injustices served out to truck drivers by governments.
In the mid 70s he launched a campaign to correct the inequities of the transport industry and helped form the Professional Transport Drivers Association (PTDA). Barry and PTDA members cut their teeth on the Darwin Blockade in 1977. “The First Frontier”, as it became known, was about rates and for many men and women it was a struggle for personal survival in a bitter fight for the transport industry as a whole. Barry and PTDA members had organised the first successful cohesion of truck drivers and, in turn, Australia’s first blockade.
By 1978 Barry had established the PTDA as a viable and effective force with branches in nearly every state. In South Australia, in 1979, Barry liaised on behalf of the PTDA and blockaders with the then State Transport Minister, Geoff Virgo. When the smoke cleared RMT (road maintenance tax) was gone. Barry was instrumental in having all South Australian weighbridges replaced with full-plate weighbridges.
Barry was also responsible for liaising with the then SA Minister for Transport, the Hon. Diana Laidlaw, authorising roadtrain access through to Port Adelaide, ceasing the change-over point at Port Augusta. Barry Lewis was an idealist. His dedication and contribution to the Australian transport industry is a testament to the giving nature of Barry and his commitment to this vital industry. He well deserves his place in the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.