Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Raymond (Ray) Smith was just 18 years old when his father , LJ Smith, wrote to the authorities requesting Ray be granted a semi-drivers licence as he needed a driver for the family carrying business.
Smith’s first truck was a 1966 AB180 International with a 32ft single axle trailer carting lucerne hay from Gunbower across to Eddington near Bendigo. Ray recalls being pulled up by a local policeman who hadn’t seen anyone driving a semi with P plates. This was to be the first of many encounters with the law!
At 19 Ray got work subcontracting for Neils Transport Moama, carting tomato juice in four gallon tins from MONBULK Echuca to Adelaide, loaded wine from the Barossa Valley to Sydney and foam buns back to Melbourne. Ray Smith traded the AB180 in for a 760 series Dodge powered by a V653 GM single drive towing a bogie trailer with which he began carting general freight from Melbourne to Sydney and Adelaide. Sleeper cabs were still scarce in those days, so bedding was laid across the seats.
A CK 30 Nissan UD, Scania 80 and new 37ft 9.1 spread Hallmark trailer was next . Minus the cracked manifolds in the UD, trucking was great. Next was a new 3070 Eagle and 40ft bogie Fruehauf trailer working for Brambles between Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.
After this came an ex-John George’s Kenworth cab-over with an 871 GM carting cement from Geelong to Echuca and rice from Deniliquin to Geelong. Next was a 1977 cab-over 350 Cummins, 15 speed overdrive 130kph (Ex-Bromich fuel tanker subbie’s truck). Ray towed for Eastoes and general for Kenco, usually hauling rubber out of Melbourne to Sydney and return.
After a short stint driving with Boylans Ray bought a 1418 with a bogie tipper and started carting out of the Lake Cooper quarry. The call of the road, and interstate running got to him and he started driving for Phillips Transport where he stayed for the next ten years running between Shepparton, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. He moved to Queensland in 1999 and for the next 12 years operated a Kenworth cab-over T601 and two T604s working for Visy Recycling and Boral Plasterboard throughout south-east Queensland.
Ray is today semi-retired and with a caravan and a Graham Lusty tipper he and wife Glenda travel throughout NSW, SA and Victoria working the grain harvests. Between harvests they hire a road train to cart round bales of cotton from Darlington Point and Griffith to Bourke and west of Moree to Trangie.
It was a sad day for Ray when he sold his last Kenworth, and retired in 2013, after serving 42 years in the trucking industy.