STELEY, Elaine

Elaine Steley Worked in the mines.

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


From the time Elaine was a kid she had an interest in trucks.  Her father was involved in both the timber industry and with jinkers and tippers carting coal.  He taught her to drive when she was about 11 in an old Blitz.  She often helped him shift vehicles around paddocks and was his little mechanic.

In 1960 Elaine and her husband Neville bought an Inter AA 164 Series from her father to work at the salt works at Bajool in QLD.  In 1962 they moved to Mackay and started hauling cattle from around the Nebo, Clermont and Capella area of Queensland.

Elaine did not have a semi licence at the time and did eventually get caught by the police.  She was told to go get her licence at Nebo or else there would be big trouble.  Once she was “legal” she regularly travelled ‘2-up’ with Neville carting grain, cattle and hay.  Elaine later drove for McAleese, which was a 2-up job again.  In between trips she did bar work but in fact had her heart set on driving a B61 Mack.  When she eventually did she says it was the hottest truck she ever drive in her life, but that it had a thousand horses.  Elaine did odd loads of general freight around the Mackay area and finally they upgraded to an R600 Mack.

In 1979 her husband, Neville, was killed at the harbour in Mackay so she gave up trucks and concentrated on bar work until 1988 when she married her second husband, Ron.  Ron had an old CW40UD, so they decided to work together in the mines.  Elaine drove the R700 which had been turned into a water truck.  They also had a Volvo, an R600 Mack-semi water tanker, a TK Bedford with a water tank and a Hino FD Pantech.  Elaine did her own mechanical work.  She got a contract for water carting for Westpac near Ayre on the Barrattas doing earthworks for six months while Ron did the compacting.  While working in the mines Elaine drove compactors, one being a CAT 825B 30 tonner, the other a Pacific 18 tonner.  Elaine also had an escort pilot licence.

When they finished work with the mines, Elaine went back to running pubs.  She managed the Silkwood for two years and then took on the St. Pats in Charters Towers.  Today Elaine is retired.