Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005.
Roger Sykes was born in 1940 in Geelong, Victoria. He left school at an early age and commenced doing odd jobs before beginning to work for himself at the age of 19 delivering small local loads out of his utility.
As the business expanded, staff was employed and by 1962 the largest truck at that time, a 4-tonne tray truck was purchased. In 1963, a semi-trailer was added to the fleet, which now consisted of four vehicles and the first interstate load was carried. The mainstay of the company was carting produce from Geelong to Sydney and Adelaide.
Steady expansion then followed and by 1973 ten vehicles were in operation, mostly on interstate runs ex-Geelong. It was around this time when Sykes Transport carried its first loads of general freight form Geelong to Perth, WA. Roger Sykes crossed the Nullabour on a regular basis, and saw it as a great challenge and full of opportunities to expand. In 1981, Sykes Transport obtained the first roadtrain permit issued, enabling them to operate double roadtrains between Pt. Augusta and Coolgardie. It was at this time the business was incorporated and a company depot in Perth was established. It was a very challenging time for Roger, as most other east-west operators were strongly opposed to roadtrains.
It was normal practice for drivers to have to check turntable and ringfeeder couplings if they stopped for a meal at a roadhouse. In a couple of locations they would see “anti” roadtrain signs painted on the highway. However, Roger could see the economic advantage of what has become the standard mode of road transport between the eastern states and W.A. A decision was made in 1998 to cease most interstate road transport operations. Now regional services within the state of WA are at the core of business.
Although retired Roger Sykes is still actively involved in the business.