GLEISNER, Ken

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.

In 1948 Ken Gleisner and his brother Fred set up a road transport business in Avoca, Victoria and registered it as Avoca Transport.

Since then it has always been family owned and operated, initially carrying firewood to Melbourne and Geelong and back loading with superphosphate, groceries and hardware. In 1960 they branched into livestock haulage and soon after won contracts with Monier Concrete Pipes and Culvert Works to cart their products all over Victoria to roadside sites.

In 1980 the brothers moved into semi-tippers for grain haulage and back-loaded fertiliser which is still their main work to this day. In 1958 Ken’s brother Fred and his partner were tragically killed in a car accident leaving Ken to manage on his own. They made a decision to stay small and manageable operating up to five semi-trailers at a time. Over the years they have operated a variety of trucks including Bedford, Reo, Mack, White, International, Benz, Leyland and Peterbilt. Ken’s son, Stephen, today operates a Mack and his son Fred, the third generation, is also driving a truck in the family business. Stephen’s wife Tracey helps manage the business.

Ken has many memories of his days on the road including the time his load was so heavy on one of the Reos that it stalled on two hills on the Calder Highway and he had to restart the motor, “Rev the hell out of it! Ride the clutch!  Jump her over both of them." Ken thinks that  road transport has come a long way in truck technology.

He says, however, that regulations of the transport industry is bad and getting worse. “I could always get into an argument over rail.” He also says the best thing on the road was the mateship and camaraderie of the drivers.

In 2001 Ken had a heart attack which ended his truck-driving days. He drives his four-wheel drive to QLD every year for a holiday.