HAMMAT, Allan

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

Allan started driving trucks on the family farm at the age of nine. He was able to handle his dad’s Thornycroft and Commer. After his boyhood activities finished, he carted stock and grain with a Bedford and four-wheel trailer.

Eventually Allan left the farm, and purchased an Acco International and worked for Pioneer in Adelaide , carting ready-mix concrete for a number of years. Allan had a deep yearning to get away from the constant noise and chaos of big city traffic and mayhem.

Allan did so by purchasing a Volvo G88 and a Fruehauf trailer. He was now set to cart general freight for Ansett, from Adelaide to Darwin, up the old Stuart Highway. In the 1970s work was plentiful. It gave Allan an opportunity to take on a partner, who later bought an Atkinson, and both trucks worked the same route. As time went on, the Volvo was traded in for a 300 cool-power Mack. The Mack was extremely reliable and well-suited for the rough conditions of the dirt road between Pt. Augusta and Alice Springs. The early 1970s was the wettest season on record across the centre of Australia so crossing flooded rivers, and getting bogged for long periods of time was a regular challenge. In 1975, Allan recounts one of his most memorable trips. He carted bridge girders from Adelaide for the Ferguson and Edith Rivers, between Katherine and Pine Creek. To unload these girders he had to cross from south to north on the old rail bridges which meant straddling the truck and travelling on sleepers. These bridges are still being used today.

1974 was extremely wet, not only creating problems on the dirt roads in SA, but also on the narrow bitumen as then, in the Northern Territory, trucks had to pull off to pass one another. Allan recalls once incident. A few kilometres north of Dunmarra, both drivers were sitting in their cabs side-by-side, talking for a couple minutes, when, without any warning disaster struck. The prime-mover and lead trailer of the Timor Transport suddenly fell over as the left hand tyres sunk into the shoulder of the road. Allan had to rescue the driver who could not hold the door open and climb out. A message was sent into Dunmarra and vehicle recovery was organised.