ROCKE, Peter

Peter Rocke

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005.

This story beings in 1857 when Peter’s great-grandfather, Martin Rocke, began carting supplies with a horse and dray to the goldfields in Bendigo, a distance of 160 km for the going rate of £140 per ton.  By the turn of the century he had established a stable of 40 horses.  In 1918, when Martin died, his son, Edward took over the business and the name E.A. Rocke soon became known as a prime cartage contractor.

When Peter’s father, Gerald, returned from WWI he was persuaded to join the family business.  Tough times followed.

WWII provided several new Government contracts, some of which were maintained when peace was declared.  At this time, E.A. Rocke purchased their first new truck, a Canadian 5-tonne Chevrolet.  Peter joined the family business in 1955.  At the time E.A. ROCKE owned eight trucks and a double horse wagon and operated out of Port Melbourne.  The 1960s proved to be decade which changed Peter’s life.

Peter married Ann Elizabeth Gibbon and produced five healthy children.  Manual labour was still the predominant means of loading and unloading and it wasn’t until 1964 that E.A.ROCKE finally bought a second-hand 80000lb Hyster diesel forklift.  In June 1964 they sold to FH Stephens Ltd for £8000.00.  Peter’s father, Gerald, died in 1968 and Peter was left as manager.

In 1972, Mayne Nickless Limited acquired FH Stephens freeing Peter to join in an exciting era of growth in the Australian Waterfront Transport Industry.  During the 1970s E.A.Rocke established itself as a major Melbourne container transport specialist and laid the foundations for the expansion into Sydney and Brisbane.  E.A. ROCKE became the biggest wharf carrier on the eastern seaboard, together with the national customs agency.  The 1980s and 90s were tumultuous and early in the 21 st century the transport businesses were sold to the PATRICK corporation.  In 1993, the Rocke family bought Coulson transport, a locally-owned Melbourne waterfront carrier since 1886 and proceeded to expand it into the largest transport operator at the port.  Their partner was Peter Gunn and ironically in1999 this business was also sold into the Mayne Nickless Ltd/Peter Gunn consortium.

April 2003 saw the re-emergence of the Rocke name under the banner of ROCKE BROS PTY LTD in the western suburbs of Melbourne.  The company is owned and managed by Peter’s three sons; Michael, Mathew and Paul, also in partnership with Peter Gunn, and is again dedicated to providing waterfront transport and related services.  Peter is the chairman and a shareholder but jokes that his tasks are mainly menial these days.  Peter has been a great supporter of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame and many other organisations around the country.