PRIDEAUX, Ray

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.

1908 - 1976

Ray Prideaux grew up on the family farm at Katandra, near Shepparton, Victoria. His father died when Ray was only 20, so the family moved to Northcote, where Rays mother took in boarders to make ends meet. One of those boarders was a young aboriginal footballer named Doug Nicholls (later - Sir Douglas Nicholls- Governor of South Australia).

Ray worked in the Grocery Warehouse of Frederick Blight & Co in Melbourne driving their 'Ruggles' delivery truck. This was in the days when every bag of freight, went via the truck drivers back. Everything was loaded and unloaded by hand. On one occassion Ray was approaching Burke Road Junction, in the Ruggles, when he realised that he would be unable to stop in time. He picked the soft option, and shunted a horse and cart in the rear. The horse was lifted off the ground, in it's shafts, and the driver toppled into the back of the jinker! The police-man on point duty was not amused!

As he became more experienced and bigger trucks became available Ray was promoted to drive a ‘big truck’ and began delivering to country towns like Geelong and Ballarat in a Morris Commercial. At the time it was an all day trip that involved crossing the Yarra river on the Williamstown Ferry, and returning home in the dark, by the dim glow of the kerosine headlamps. Often the freight included barrels of beer and these would have to be parbuckled, by hand, into the hotel cellar.

On his trips to Heathcote Ray’s biggest worry was the notoriously steep two kilometre incline at Pyalong called "Pretty Sally". Ray recounted he would hang his head out the driver’s window and watch the wheel nuts going around. He figured that if they started turning backwards, it was time to bale-out!

Ray Prideaux passed away in 1976 at the age of 68.