Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.
Roy Albert Kortum, widely known as “R.A.”, was born in Rochester, 7th July 1915 and lived in Elmore, Victoria. Roy’s elder brother Harold Kortum, operated a 1932 Dodge tray truck until his accident and unexpected death in March 1934.
Roy took over the business and commenced a long association with the transport industry that spanned over 60 years. Roy carted a variety of produce including grain, hay, wool, sheep and cattle to the Bendigo and Melbourne markets.
Roy held the record for transporting the most sheep to the Bendigo Market in one day (due to his father over booking loads). After WWII, Roy and his brother, Norm, established the partnership of Kortum Bros which was dissolved in 1958 when they continued to operate separately. In the 1940s a Wangaratta transport business was purchased. Not impressed with the bridges in the Wangaratta area, Roy decided to build a depot and home in Cobram, Victoria. During this era many dairy farms and orchards were established producing oranges, apples, pears, apricots, nectarines, grapefruit, tomatoes, potatoes, milk, cream and casein.
Roy’s contract with Murray Goulburn was to carry milk and cream from the farms in cans. Seven trucks were involved in the twice daily collection. Butter, cheese and casein from the factory together with apples from Harcourt, oranges for Brentall Bros of “Ngawe,” Barooga nad R J Cornish & Co and Pullars Orchards of Cobram were also contracted to Roy. In the 1950s a contract with H J Heinz Dandenong was also obtained and the many farms around Cobram, Finley, Elmore, Rochester and Lockington areas serviced by Kortum Bros. Many Cobram locals were employed by Roy in the summer fruit season to assist with loading the tomato trucks. Tomatoes were packed in wooden boxes and loaded by hand. Roy purchased a forklift attachment in the 1960s. It was the first in the area and was well used. Once loaded the trucks would be weighed at Cobram depot and dispatched to the Heinz Dandenong factory.
Up to 100 trucks would be loaded from the Cobram depot in a night. Roy “retired” to Berrigan, but he always retained a truck or two until his late 70s.
Roy passes away at age 83 on the 5th of February 1999.