MILLER, Ray

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

Raymond John Miller was born in 1937 in Sydney. Mt Isa Transport was started by Dudley Miller and son Ray Miller in 1962 after buying a business from Tom Dean.

Tom Dean’s business primarily carted nitropril for ICI to Mary Kathleen uranium mine north of Cloncurry Qld. The first trucks were a International tilt cab 200 petrol and an International AB184 with a 354 Perkins.

These trucks were too weak for the tough terrain so they bought the first B61 Mack single drive in 1964, then another B61 single drive in 1965, and then went on to buy seven more Macks including a B61 Bogie drive, three R model Flintstone – one of the Flintstones featured on the cover of Slim Dusty’s album Lights on the Hill – and three F model cab-overs. Millers used Macks exclusively in that era as they were a very tough truck. All trucks pulled roadtrains and the roads then were mostly bull dust or mud. On some occasions they could be stopped for up to two weeks to wait for the rain to stop or the pub to run out of beer. Some roads went straight through dry river beds and across creeks so sometimes all the roadtrains would hook up together to get through. Three prime-movers and six trailers hooked up grossed over 200 ton.

The Miller Macks were famous for their black and chrome colour scheme. They were one of the first companies to cart general freight to Mt Isa using roadtrains. Ray’s favourite truck was the first cab over V8 F715R6 model 285 hp which he purchased. This was like a sports car compared to the 211hp B model he’d previously driven. The main freight was nitropril from ICI to the mine. Initially they had six subbies carting in nine of their own trucks.  The other freight was beer from Carlton United Brewery. Most of the business houses in Mt Isa were serviced by Millers including Mobil, Dunlop Tyres, Mt Isa Mines, Gun Powder Creek Mine and most of the hotels. The business ceased operating in 1982 mainly to the national economic downturn of the time.

Ray Miller is retired and lives in McGrath Hill. Dudley Miller died in 1982. Ray will be remembered for pioneering in central Queensland.

He still loves to have a yarn about the old days to old mates and has many stories about towns like Cunnamulla, Longreach, Winton, Kynuna and Cloncurry. The biggest transformation he says, has been the increase in rules and regulations.