LUCANTO, Ronald

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

Ron was born 13th August 1926. He started driving heavy vehicles at 18 whilst serving with the RAAF during World War 2. He was stationed on the island of Morotai, Dutch New Guinea from early 1945.

In 1947 Ron was cutting and carting firewood from central Victoria to Melbourne. The family business had several trucks: a 3-ton Dodge, Ford, Commer, White and Diamond T. The trailers used were “large” 20 footers at that time. In the mid 1950s he started sub-contracting to Martins Overland Freighters.

With Martins he went hauling from Melbourne to Sydney. Return loads were usually foundry coke out of Wollongong to GMH at Port Melbourne. Ron’s truck, at the time, was an imported American built Federal with a 120 hp J-series Cummins; it was a great truck in it day. Brambles Transport bought Martins and Ron stayed with them for two more years carting between Melbourne and Sydney. During this time Ron owned two German made Magirus Deutz, one conventional and one cab-over. Both were powered by air-cooled V8 engines.

Ron left Brambles in the 1960s and secured a contract with Kinnears Ropes taking their products to Sydney and returning with ammonia nitrate from Newcastle to Geelong for Pivot. Ron contracted to Kinnears Ropes for over 20 good years. During this time Ron traded his Deutz for an Australian built Atkinson made in Clayton, Victoria. It was powered by a NH 250 Cummins. In 1976 Ron upgraded to his dream truck, a new Kenworth K125 with a Cummins NTC 350. Following the 20 years with Kinnears, Ron secured a contract with the multi-national chemical company BASF, carting their products both ways. This continued until a company management change saw all company work go to a large single transport company. Ron then worked through a loading agent, Mario Sartori who secured permanent work for Ron through Chemtrans Transport. Ron remained with Chemtrans until he retired in 1996, aged 70. He still had his beloved Kenworth K125, and an NTC 400 which he bought new in 1976. Ron sold the truck but it is still running interstate.

Over the more than 40 years Ron drove from Melbourne to Sydney, he has seen many changes in the industry. When he started, a  sub-contractor could make a comfortable living on “on trip a week” to Sydney. Now “truckies” need to do three trips. Ron was well recognised in the industry as a good operator and mate.