TARANTO, Alex

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

Alex Taranto was born in 1930 in Italy, and at age 15, started work transporting bags of cement on a donkey through the hills of Sicily to his home town of Braidie. He made the big move to Australia in 1951 and celebrated his 21st birthday during the voyage.

After arriving in Australia Alex worked a short stint at Ford Motor Co. before moving to the Snowy Mountain Scheme where he was employed as a driver and became very skilled at driving any type of vehicle.  He gained recognition as a prized employee. He moved to Warrnambool to start his interstate driving career. 

He worked firstly with Joe Harrington on interstate before joining Tom Barton where he quickly made a lot of friends who would turn out to be lifelong friends.  It was in Warrnambool that Alex met his wife, Joy, and he still credits her beauty and inner strength for his survival in Australia.

Alex moved from Bartons to Johnsons Transport where he became their number one driver according to lifelong friend, Barney McFadyen.  By this time Alex had driven Internationals, Leylands and Mercedes and had carted general freight, livestock and refrigerated which is the specialist field that he would enter into.

Alex then joined Alan Howard’s Refrigerated Transport and when the company moved to Geelong, so did Alex and he was soon driving his first Kenworth, “a big flash unit with a 335 Cummins in it,” the envy of most drivers.  Alex then turned his hand from a driver to operations manager for Howards and stayed there until 1971 when he started out on his own.  He started slowly and built up from one truck to a fleet of 12 and heralded the arrival of a small, but very efficient company, Taranto Freezer Vans.

In 1981 Alex joined forces with Noel Griffen and the new name “Taranto Twinro” was launched.  Alex was a positive influence on the growth and management of the company and then moved to Bundaberg to manage the fresh produce arm of this business.  This company experienced rapid growth and within a very short time it became known as Refrigerated Roadways.

Although Alex retired in 2000, and now enjoys retirement with his wife Joy in Brisbane, he still lives and breathes road transport.