ROBERTS, William

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

William Roberts (Bill) was born in January 1950. He became involved in the road transport industry whilst completing his auto electrician apprenticeship with the NSW Government Railways in 1965.  At that time the railways had a large and diverse fleet of trucks and cars supporting the rail network. Bill also spent his weekends doing maintenance work for Tunnicliffs Transport Service and learnt to drive semi trailers in their yard before he was old enough to have a car licence. After getting his C class licence Bill worked delivering new cab chassis trucks around Australia for Tunnicliffs. In those days most new heavy vehicles were physically driven to the dealers on trade plates. Sometimes Bill was able to deliver two trucks between capital cities over the weekend.

On completion of his apprenticeship Bill continued to work for Tunnicliffs. acquiring his trailer licence at the age of 20 in 1970 - but only after the examiner refused to do the driving test using a loaded six-car carrier. The examiner insisted the cars had to be unloaded in the RTA compound before the test could be done. Bill took the test,  passed, reloaded the cars and drove off to deliver them.

Bill drove interstate for Tunnicliffs in a Commer Knocker with a 36 foot single axle strap trailer. In 1971 he bought his own truck, a 1965 TK Bedford 21 foot table-top with a 300 cubic inch petrol engine. With it he became the first sub-contractor for Visyboard when they opened their new factory and distribution centre at Warwick Farm NSW. Bill stayed with Visyboard NSW until 1985. He sold his truck and started driving for Visyboard in a Bedford prime-mover with 466 diesel and later, an MAN 14 275 table top with a 20’ dog trailer.  Bill later became the despatch supervisor for both Visy Board and Visy Interpack.

Bill then moved to Smorgon Fibre Containers in 1989 as Despatch Manager and by 1990 was NSW Operations Manager for Smorgon Transport and later for K&S Distribution after they acquired Smorgon Transport. At that time Bill managed a team of 52 drivers, 2 supervisors and a fleet of 52 trucks, 23 trailers and additional sub contractors as required
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In the late 1990s Bill managed a privately owned semi-trailer rental business in Sydney with a fleet of between 50 and 65 trailers. In 2010 Bill went back on the road running local and country deliveries with some over-dimensional and float work.  His knowledge of the industry, and the people who work in it, makes him one of the industry’s true professionals.

 

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