PYKE, Clifford

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2011.

Cliff Pyke (Curly) was born in Stawell. He bought his first truck in 1949, an Austin tray truck used for carting firewood and stock in and around the Stawell district.

He went to Melbourne to buy his wife a fridge, but instead, came home with a Commer prime- mover and trailer and then built a stock crate to fit. This truck was the beginning of C. J. Pyke Carriers, Stawell, whose motto was “Anywhere, Anytime.”

He carted livestock all over Victoria and New South Wales and would be away for weeks at a time chasing loads. He was a self-taught mechanic and would make or repair parts he needed to keep the truck working. Parts were hard to come by in the remote areas he travelled; he even built his own stock crates.

In the early 1960s, the company signed a contract to cart hardwood logs out of the Mount William and Mount Cole area in Victoria to the S.T.I. Mill in Stawell.

Over the years he added more trucks and employed many drivers including his two brothers. He encouraged others to get into trucks and many of those are still driving today.

Cliff had many different trucks including Bedfords, Dodges and Internationals, but his favourite was the Commer.

In 1970, his son came into the business and the name was changed to C. J. Pyke and Son – Stawell, and remained that way until 1979 when the company ceased to trade due to the closing of the S.T.I. Mill and the closing of the hardwood forests. Even after the closing of the company Cliff still took an interest in the transport industry right up until his death.