RADFORD, Gary OAM

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

Gary Arnold Radford, or ‘Ripper’ as he is known to many of his friends, was born on February 18, 1941, the only child to Reginald and Nell Radford (nee Griffin).

Gary and his mother had the misfortune to lose their father and husband when Reg was killed in action in New Guinea during World War II. The tragedy affected Gary’s mother markedly and she spent most of the rest of her life in institutions.

Gary was reared by his grandparents and their families.  Les Radford (grandfather) commenced business in Broken Hill in 1911 as a builder and transport operator, principally shifting houses from Silverton to Broken Hill with camel teams and jinkers.  Up to, and after the war years, his business grew. From the young age of 14, Gary worked in the business known as Les Radford and Sons. Gary worked in the workshop doing welding and mechanical work. He also worked operating equipment at the mines in Broken Hill and doing civil and local government contracts.  He was made a foreman supervising some jobs.  In 1964 he left the Radford business after his grandfather passed away and his uncles took over.  Gary purchased a 1953 Ford tipper and a Massey Harris overhead loader and started business as a sole trader in the district.  In 1965 Gary borrowed some money to buy a truck and tractor, and went into partnership with his uncle Peter Radford in a business known as R&R Earthmovers. Later the company name was changed to Gary Radford Earthmovers.

Early in the 1970s Gary bought Peter and Bonnie Radford out and in 1975 he purchased his grandfather’s business, Les Radford and Sons.  He changed the trading names to Gary Radford Earthmovers and Silver City Haulage. From 1976 until 2008 Consolidated Cranes, Brimco Cranes, Radco Heavy Haulage were successfully operating in Wingfield, Adelaide SA.  The business was sold to a national company: McAleese Transport. 

2011 marks the centenary of the Radford family business association with Broken Hill. It is a century that marks a huge amount of change in the way business is done in a physical sense with the same business traits shown so admirably by the family’s patriarch, Les Radford. These traits are still just as important to his grandson Gary and his great-grandchildren: honesty, integrity, hard work, attention to detail, loyalty and commonsense.

In Gary’s semi-retirement his interest has moved to his grazing properties which are run by his sons. Gary is still involved in a hands-on and up-front manner. He works tirelessly in the Broken Hill community as a volunteer for a number of projects, but restoring earthmoving and haulage plant and equipment remains his passion.