Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.22.11.1945 - 23.08.2007
Kevin (Plugger) Bowden was born in Bourke NSW at the old Durham hospital on 22 November 1945. He was born into a family already involved in the transport industry for two generations. His grandfather started doing mail runs and carting wool and livestock. This business was known as AL Bowden and Sons. The family business was taken up and extended by Plugger’s father, Cyril who is also being inducted this year. Plugger’s uncles were also involved in the industry.
In the 1960s the business was taken over by Cyril and his sons, Ronald (Ferret), Kevin (Plugger) and Bruce (Tart). This business was now called CA Bowden and Sons Pty Ltd. They continued the mail runs, carrying stock and included general cartage running to Darwin, Mt Isa and Townsville.
During the drought in the 1960s the Bowdens were carting from Thurlo Downs to the Hay area. Plugger would be away from home for three weeks at a time.
He was the first person in Bourke to purchase a four deck stock crate even though he was told that such a crate would not be successful and that it was just a fad. Four deck stock crates are still around today.
Plugger had an R-model Mack and he would sleep across the seats. If he had company on his trips the passengers would sleep on the floor. Alternatively they carried swags and camped outdoors.
In 1985 the family business was disbanded and Plugger purchased his own stock truck and ran a stock carrying business in partnership with his wife Dot. In later years he branched into working with tippers as the droughts had drastically reduced stock numbers.
The roadtrain record was claimed for Bourke when, in 1993, Plugger drove a Mack with 16 stock trailers up his hometown’s main street. He repeated the effort in 1994 when he towed 29 trailers measuring 439.169 metres for 4.5 kilometres and weighing 500 tonnes from the sale yards on Sydney Road to the Central Hotel in Anson Street with his 1988 Mack Superliner.
Ill health saw Plugger sell his trucks, trailers, crates and tippers to his nephew Mark (Popeye) Bowden in 2005. Kevin Bowden passed away on 23 August 2007. He was laid to rest in Bourke.