Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.Albert (Baldy) Baldwin started driving trucks at just eight years of age when he proudly pushed the starter of his father’s 1942 Army Blitz which was in gear. He drove for half a kilometre down the Bartagunyah road at Casterton heralding the start of his long career in trucking.
At just 14 Baldy illegally drove a KB5 International carting stringy bark logs for Kinmonth’s timber mill. He never got caught. By the time he was 18 Baldy was driving legally for G & M Dowling Transport in Casterton carting wool, livestock and hay. He then went to work for JA Simkin Transport spreading super for two years in an R190 International.
In 1967 Baldy moved to Western Australia to work for Brambles Manford in the Esperance area. He drove a variety of trucks including Foden, International, Mack and Mercedes Benz primarily carting wool from Esperance to Albany but also carting general goods from Esperance to Perth.
Baldy moved to Bunbury in 1977 and began driving for Alex Ryan, the local mineral sands contractors, in an AEC. After a year he joined Malatesta Transport where he worked until 1985. In 1982 Baldy was asked by Total West to teach the Indonesians on Christmas Island to move fertilizer from stockpile to plant with a three trailer roadtrain side-tipper combinations. When he returned to Bunbury he bought his own truck, an 8V92TA White Road Boss sub-contracting to Malatesta until they sold to Total West who ultimately sold to Westfarmers
When Westfarmers disbanded Baldy went out on his own and began sub-contracting with WA Salvage, a subsidiary of Bunnings. He also drove West-East-West for Perth Freightlines until the closure of WA Salvage. In 2006 Baldy drove for PFL Viking Transport until that company went into receivership. In 2012 Baldy drives two and a half trips per month for Jayde Transport; on their premium service for Westpine industries. Over a six year period he has undertaken nearly 2000 journeys across the Nullarbor.
After 52 years in the industry Baldy has good memories of the camaraderie of drivers. He is known for always being willing to give help and advice. Barry Ladd, CEO of Perth Freightlines, whose handshake was a bond of mateship, was special to Baldy. He recalls his hardest challenge to overcome was the loss of earnings when Viking went broke and his focus now is simply to make a living.
His favourite truck is ‘Miss Judy’, a 550 C15 CAT powered Kenworth BYK104B. It is his only truck these days and is housed at Australind and hauls B-doubles. Baldy is keen to keep his business operating for as long as possible.