Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2011.Russell Hovey’s passion for truck driving was born when he accepted his first driving position with Ron Hovey of Hovey’s Transport in 1965. He worked locally driving a Commer tip truck, carting slag from the Burmod Auto Casting to the Ford tip in North Geelong. Russell stayed with Hoveys for one year until he was offered a position with the Country Road Board in Inverleigh, where he stayed for twelve months until he purchased his first truck, a 760 Austin tray with a 20ft stock crate. When Robert, his younger brother, left school in 1966 the pair began carting sheep and cattle to the markets for the district. They purchased another two prime movers, an F600 Ford for hay cartage and an AB180 International with a 34ft bogie trailer.
In 1968, Russell was asked to travel to Sydney with a load of Pat Aloe’s onions for market thus beginning Russ Hovey’s interstate driving career with his new 660 Dodge prime-mover and 34ft bogie trailer. Ron Hovey got word Russ was in Sydney and gave him a job carting industrial coke from Wollongong to Geelong. This trip was completed once a week for four years.
Russell met Norm Robinson in 1975. This was the beginning of an almost three decade long friendship. Norm began Russell’s career of carting conveyor belting from Apex Belting in Footscray to Newcastle in 1982 when Apex expanded into the coal mines of central Queensland and Russell expanded into roadtrains. Russell’s company, now known as Ribeau, then took over the Apex contract in approximately 1990 after Norm’s retirement. The company is run by Russell, his wife Lynette and two daughters, Ebony and Kali.
Ribeau’s fleet consists of six Kenworth prime-movers, twenty trailers which include drop decks, low-loader tautliners and five forklifts. The fleet covers Port Lincoln, Alice Springs, Mount Isa and every mine and sugar mill east of that line to Cairns in Queensland. The company’s depot, based in north Geelong, now employs six full-time staff members and a large number of subcontractors.
Russell’s family is extremely proud of his achievements in the transport industry. He has old school values: respect, work ethic and unmistakable pride. At 64 Russell is still driving interstate and showing no signs of retiring although he says every year that this will be his last!