SMITH, Alfred

Alfred Smith 1948: Back on the Road.

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

At the age of 23, Alfred Smith joined the army and went into camp at Warradale.  In the service corp. He was put in the transport division and there he learned to drive three-ton trucks before progressing to semi-trailers.  He finished up on Mack-Lanova diesels with 22 foot trailers on the Alice Springs to Darwin run. 

He came out of the army in 1946 and went back to being a grocer but in 1948 Alfred went back on the road.  He bought an ex-army KS6 International with a 22 foot trailer and ran the coastline.

From Kingston, Robe and Beachport he carried 300 to 400 banana crates of cooked crayfish every week along the corrugated Coorong Road.  The tiers of banana crates had to be tied down with rope and Alfred was lucky to get all the ropes form cray fishermen who only kept their cray pot ropes for one year.  Alfred had to rope every tier down and throw a big tarpaulin which was folded in a certain way, right over the top, so when he got up on top he just rolled it out and it went right over the load and folded at the corners to keep the dust and wind out.

The corrugated Coorong played havoc with bearings so it was necessary to take two or three spare sets.  The other problem was the heavy load going up through the hills.  Alfred used to have a lot of big end troubles and had to do running repairs.  He and a mate stopped at Crafers, checked the oil and found it was just froth.  The sump only held eight pints of oil. So they came up with a brainwave.  The truck had a bit of a bull nose and they worked out that if you put 30 feet of half inch copper tubing coil in the front and it came out the side of the sump where it’s pumped along, and comes out and comes back in again, it would cool it down sufficiently.

With so much oil in the sump it saved all the bearings and they reckoned they had a lot better run after that.  Of course the hills were very slow bottom gear all the way up Crafers and Stirling.