Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.
Ross Eldred was born in Leongatha, Victoria, in 1948. On his 18th Birthday he ‘officially’ became a transport operator.
He got his driver’s licence, borrowed $4,000 to purchase a 1960 Dodge Fargo cattle truck and then took a load of cattle to Melbourne market.
Transporting cattle and sheep to all areas of Victoria and southern NSW, Ross had upgraded to a new 10 Series Dodge within 12 months. Ross married Joan in 1970 and sold his truck to settle down! In 1973 they bought their first school bus, a 1969 Bedford VAM. To make ends meet Ross worked at several jobs including part-time coach driving for Joe Pincini. His first outback safari in ’73 was to The Centre in a 401 Leyland Freighter. Ross drove for Joe and Laurie on Funfari and Southern Cross Tours for about 4 years. ‘Stranded’ with about 17 other coaches at Pimba and Woomera for a week during the 1974 ‘Big Wet’ was one of the countless ‘unforgettable’ experiences!
Joan’s first trip as safari cook was also in 1974 for the Pincini’s. In 1977 Ross and Joan bought a second hand Leyland Clydesdale with a Denning body and ‘subbied’ for the Pincini’s. Eldred’s Coach Tour was created in 1978 and Ross and Joan started marketing outback tours to their local community. By 1979 they had purchased a new 37’ Denning and Ross had built their first safari wagon. The Eldreds ‘subbied’ for Hoys of Wangaratta and were the first ‘subbie’ for Deluxe Express Services.
In 1981, in partnership with Westernport Roadlines, they commenced operating trial replacement services from Yarram to Melbourne. They were the successful party in a 3 month Bus versus Train Tribunal Hearing and went on to operate South Gippsland’s V/Line for over 20 years. Ross and Joan built up a very successful tour, charter and school bus operation. Their three children were also great contributors and their sons continue the Eldred involvement in the transport industry.
Ross and Joan Eldred sold to the Dyson Group of Companies in 2007 and are enjoying retirement.