ANDERSON, Ralph

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.

Ralph James Anderson was born in Port Pirie, South Australia in November 1925 and died in January 1997.Ralph first started in the road transport industry when he joined the R.A.A.F. Transport division to serve in Darwin from 1945 to 1946 just after the end of the Second World War.   After completing his tenure in Darwin Ralph returned home and married Edna Doris Norrish on 22 March 1947. After several different jobs, he returned to the transport industry, starting with Lee Transport which later became Brambles Lee and today is called Brambles.

Many stories came from those days with trips from Port Pirie to Port Lincoln and Broken Hill before the days of bitumen. Lee Transport handled mainly general freight and some stock using Commer Knocker trucks and single axle strap trailers.  One of the stories he told was of loading a record load of wool for those days, but unfortunately on the trip a helper spring broke tipping the trailer and losing the load.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Ralph went into business for himself with a Ford F600 single axle tipper and later an F500. He employed his eldest son Darryl (Butch) in the business.  Ralph mainly owned tippers and in the early days he worked with AJ Edwards and later with AHA (Arthur Hall Ackson & Co.)  These times took him all over the state building roads and working on different construction sites.  

Some of the major contracts included the Port Augusta bridge, the Woomera rocket range in the mid 1960s and in the early 1970s he worked on the Nullarbor Highway construction and sealing of the Eyre Highway.

Ralph bought his first diesel truck around 1968 which was a 1963 Thames Trader single axle with tipper body.  As Ralph had done all his own maintenance, this was all new to him but it didn’t take long to learn and he ended up knowing the truck inside and out.  The Thames Trader has been donated to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

During the later years of Ralph’s working life, he had a contract with the BHAS Smelting Works in Port Pirie for the outside truck hire.  This was consistent work and set Ralph up in life and he built up his fleet of trucks, mainly tandem tippers including Fords, Internationals, Dodge, Albion and Bedford. Ralph and Edna had five sons, all have been involved with transport at some time.

 

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