COOPER, Ken

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2009.

Ken Cooper started business in a BP service station in 1972 becoming the local RACV licensee at the same time.  If a car was broken down on the Great Ocean Road, it was Ken who got it going.  Bulk fuel, heating oil and LP gas cylinders were distributed from here.

Ken's first truck was a Leyland Boxer with a 6354 Perkins.  He later purchased a Ford LN700 with a 175 hp 3208 Caterpillar.  This was the first of 23 LN, LNT and LTL Fords purchased over the next few years.

Ken preferred the use of diesel-powered vehicles over the very common Internationals with petrol V8 engines.  Other operators ridiculed his decision but he proved them all wrong as the diesels demonstrated more reliability and better fuel efficiency.  1980 saw his relocation to Geelong.  LPG cylinders and bulk fuel were still being delivered throughout western Victoria.  Ken was then contracted by Ford Australia to transport panels from Geelong to Brisbane.  Ford LTLs with Caterpillar engines did this job.

In 1989 Ken was contracted by Target Australia to supply stores from Melbourne to Cairns.  For return freight Ken opened depots with cool room facilities in Innisfail and Brisbane.  Isuzu pick-up trucks were used to collect bananas from local growers in Innisfail which were delivered to every Asutralian capital city.

Ken was one of the first operators to use roadtrain configurations for produce on the long Innisfail to Melbourne route.  Now Kenworth and Western Star trucks were used with a mixture of Caterpillar and Detroit engines.  The fleet consisted of road-trains, B-double and single-trailer applications.  All trucks were dressed with the big red 'K' on the side; this made Ken's fleet one of the most recognisable in the country.  In late 2001 a decision was made to sell the interstate sector of the company.  The local division of transporting gas cylinders ceased in 2006.  Ken has semi-retired but still can't stop talking about his Caterpillar-powered Kenworth Aerodyne.

Today  Ken helps out his two sons with their transport companies from time to time.  He is at his happiest playing with a truck.