Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
In January 1951 Ron Boardman was working for the Electricity Trust of South Australia at Leigh Creek when he decided he needed a change and left. He caught a plane to Alice Springs and booked in at the new Alice Springs Hotel.
The next day he met a truck driver from Darwin by the name of ‘Onions Stewart’ who offered him a lift to Darwin. In all the years since he has never heard anybody refer to Onions by any other name. The truck Onions was driving was owned by a well-known Darwin identity, ‘Eveready’ Ted Fitzgerald. This was Ron’s first experience of a long distance truck trip and it took three days in an old Ford pulling a single axle ex-army trailer.
When they reached Darwin, Ron got a job driving for Ellis Kells Brewery. The job lasted barely three months because Ellis Kells “folded up and shot through”.
In late 1965 Ron purchased his first semi, an International single drive with a 34 foot McGrath bogie trailer. When he bought the truck it was already loaded for Melbourne and so began the next 20 years of carting loads to and from every state and territory all over mainland Australia and into every mining town in the northwest.
Ron spent two years carting aluminium from Geelong to Perth and general haulage from Perth to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and from Adelaide to Ayers Rock. He later carted from Ayers Rock to Wingelina and once carried an urgent load of sugar bags from Melbourne to Townsville because the bags in Townsville were Taiwanese and not acceptable.
On another occasion Ron took a load from Brisbane to Tennant Creek and on to Warburton Mission getting bogged for four days with four other trucks between Kingoonya and Pimba. On another trip, when he carted to Darwin from Perth, the road was flooded on the Northern Highway so he drove down to Kalgoorlie and put the truck on the train to Port Augusta and travelled the Old South Road. For some reason the train was delayed at Tarcoola and he had to arrange to unload the truck and drive from Tarcoola to come out at the Twins Homestead. The load was tyres from Fremantle to Darwin.
Over the years Ron bought another three trucks: one petrol International, a cab-over Mercedes and second Mercedes which had a lazy axle on the drive.
These days Ron is in his 80s, is retired and living in Perth.