JAMES, Ronald

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

Ron was born on the 24-3-1937 at Euston, NSW. Ron would skip school to do a trip with his brother Bill who, after he was discharged from the army, purchased 2 NR Macks and joined his uncle Alf Schnaars, transporting general freight from the railhead at Mildura to Broken Hill.

Ron learnt to drive the Mack at a young age being told, “If I see you using the clutch, I’ll kick your ass.” As soon as Ron could get a licence, he started driving tip trucks, bull dozers and loaders to get experience.

He finally got a job with his brother Bill driving Macks. This was followed by a Mercedes Benz, to and from Broken Hill for approximately £10 per trip, usually one a week, carrying general goods and bricks all loaded by hand. In the late 1950s they started carting sheep and cattle from NSW, QLD, SA and Vic to the Yelta Sale yards at Merbein. The family moved to Victoria in 1960, where one son and two daughters were born. In 1967 Ron purchased his first truck, a Mercedes Benz 1418 single drive and became James Transport, Mildura. He hired a sheep crate and went bush for weeks at a time moving livestock as far as Charters Towers in QLD, northern NSW and SA on terrible outback roads, sometimes bogged in mud and sand for days or weeks on end.

He later sub-contracted to Gordon Cupper Transport and carried citrus fruits to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane markets. Loading was done by hand, 1200 boxes of citrus on at Sunraysia and off at the markets, then hand load 20 odd ton of groceries, bricks or pipes, home to Sunraysia. Over the many years Ron worked for most of the big transport companies in the country but was always looking for the opportunity to be his own boss. In 1972 he traded the 1418 on a cab-over 1924 Benz which was a pig of a truck which nearly cost him the business. Son Greg joined Ron in 1981. They purchased two new International trucks. In 1983 Ron’s dream came true. He successfully tendered for citrus product freight with the Mildura Fruit Company (Padlock Trading). He worked non-stop while Greg went interstate from 1983 to 1997.

When Ron’s bad back and failing health forced him to retire, he handed control to Greg who currently employs 15 people and runs 17 trucks.

The 1418 was Ron’s Favourite truck, a great little money earner. Today Ron marvels at changes technology has made over 50 years. He maintains an interest in trucks, and restores old Holdens and Ferguson tractors.