Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Allan Fair was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1942. After completion of a trade certificate as a motor mechanic he began driving trucks, an occupation that he does to this day. When Allan started as an owner driver in 1962 he paid £2500 for a Thames Trader. With this he travelled from Perth to Sydney carting biscuits, tyres, acetic acid and other general freight, all hand loaded. One of the more specialised tasks was carting egg cartons for Smorgens. Loaded by hand the finished result was an inverted pyramid 15 feet high and 10 feet wide across the top. During this time the Nullarbor was dirt from Norseman to Port Augusta.
But the times they were “a changing” and the Thames was sold to make way for a V8 petrol Ford F700, followed by an International R190, used to cart general freight for Mayne Nickless. The International is remembered well, albeit not fondly, as Allan rebuilt the motor on the side of the road on the Hay Plains, a task which would never be undertaken today. As the years went by the list of transport companies and rigs grew with Johnson Transport, Swanline, Brambles, Fogliani and Toll being just a few. Allan has gone from a single cab 110hp with no air-conditioning, no fridge, no radio and no sleeper cab to a 625hp Western Star with an 18 speed Roadranger, ice pac, microwave, TV, CD player, fridge and satellite telephone. The days of rebuilding motors and clutches on the sides of dirt roads are all but forgotten.
Over the last fifty years Allan has travelled throughout Australia hauling freight in and out of remote areas such as Roper River, Karumba, and Borroloola. Many of these communities were totally dependent upon trucks for most, if not all, goods and supplies. Allan was the first truck into Telfer, WA and began hauling into Darwin as early as 1967. He also carted produce from Sumich’s to Tully then back loaded prawns to Perth again. He carted freezers into Goldsworthy and Shay Gap. Allan’s career has outlasted many of his destinations.
Allan now travels ‘two-up’ with his wife Kerry carting rig equipment and other general freight from their base in Perth to Darwin via Dampier and Broome as a subcontractor for Toll. The days of cook-ups on the side of roads may be gone but Allan still feels there is a sense of camaraderie among drivers. He believes the road transport industry is as important today as it ever was and continues to take pride in his chosen profession. Allan has been driving for over fifty years working hard to keep fit so he can watch another million or so miles click over….perhaps in a rig with just a few more horses.