Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.Rodney Clarke was born in May 1945 at Minyip, “the heart of the wheat belt,” in Victoria’s Wimmera region. Tragedy struck at an early age when his father was killed in a farming accident. The family farm continued to be managed by Bill Cahill until Rodney completed third form at Monivae College in Hamilton. At Monivae Rodney is remembered as a promising student forced to prematurely abandon his secondary education to return home and manage the family farm at the tender age of 15.
He commenced his involvement in the trucking industry in 1968 when he purchased his first truck; an ACCO tray truck, which he used for contract hay carting. Around about this time the Grampians were being developed as a tourist destination with new roads being built to service the growing tourist industry. Rodney saw this as an opportunity to develop his trucking business and supplement the farm income.
Consequently, Rodney traded the tray truck in for an ACCO 1800 semi tipper to go contract gravel carting in the Grampians. During this time he was managing the farm at weekends and truck driving during the week.
Following his marriage to Jennifer McIntyre in 1971, Rodney grew the trucking business in conjunction with managing the farm until in 1994 when Rodney and Jenny established Wimmera Container Line. Always the entrepreneur, Rodney saw the opportunity to move agricultural product from the region into Melbourne Port. In the first year the company only transported 160 containers. Undaunted, Rodney persisted and today the company is moving more than 15,000 per year.
In August, 2012, Wimmera Container Line will move to a new Intermodal Freight Terminal at Dooen. The company is confident the number of containers it will move to the Port of Melbourne will continue to grow over the next decade. The fleet has now grown to 25 prime movers, 38 trailers and 9 forklifts. The latest acquisition was a Kenworth T609 and a Quad Quad NPV B-Double combination with a carrying capacity of 77 tonnes.
Throughout his adult life Rodney has always had a deep sense of community. He has been a player, committee man and president of Minyip football club and a long-time member of Lions International of which he has been president on four occasions, three times in Minyip and this year with Horsham Lions Club.
Today Rodney maintains an active role in the management of his company.