Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2011.Henry Nation was a grandson of pioneers Jane and Robert Nation who operated mail runs and a general store in Monbulk (1902 to 1924). Henry’s father, Robert Junior, moved to Lilydale in 1927, and started a carting business.
Henry worked for his father carting milk to Melbourne dairies. He continued the business with his brothers after his father’s death in 1946. The business was divided in 1950. Henry purchased the Wesburn run encompassing East Warburton, Millgrove, Wesburn, Yarra Junction, Powelltown, Launching Place, Woori Yallock Cockatoo, Seville, and Lilydale. H.J. Nation P/L. evolved when Henry’s son William joined the company in 1958.
For Henry, getting the milk from farm to dairies in Melbourne was top priority, to ‘always be on time and stop for nothing!’ A friendly race to the delivery gate was enjoyed by truckies approaching from different directions in order to save time and be first to offload the heavy cans.
During the 1962 bushfires which devastated the Yarra Valley deliveries were halted and Henry’s local knowledge of access roads was of great assistance to the police.
During summer, farmers milked twice daily. Henry and Bill did both morning and evening runs with spare time spent on maintenance. Despite the long hours it was a job they loved.
Henry’s truck of choice was the ever-reliable International R to AB models and these were always painted cream.
The Nations saw many changes to the milk industry, and when milk cans were forced out in favour of tanker trucks, the family reluctantly sold in October 1965. Henry took the sale extremely hard knowing it was the end of the Nation Transport history 1903 to 1965.