RYAN, Geoffrey

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.

Geoffrey William Ryan was born in Swan Hill. He met and married his wife Edna there. They had four children. Life was hard on the land in the Mallee region with continuous droughts making life hard. In 1945 they moved to Quambatook and continued farming until 1950. Driving the farm truck started Geoff’s life-long love of trucks. When old enough he started contracting work carting grain. Geoff bought his first truck at the age of 17, an Austin with a Perkins diesel in 1951. He added a stock crate and commenced carting livestock to the New Market Sale Yards in Melbourne. He also hauled machinery and carted drum fuel in Victoria.

Geoff’s second truck was an International R180 and did interstate haulage to Sydney and Brisbane. During the 1970s and 1980s, Geoff hauled long distance across most states of Australia. He also did a number of sub-contracting jobs for Finemores. Life was tough with long hours driving on sub-standard roads, no services and having to camp by the side of the road. Geoff owned various truck and trailer combinations including Internationals, a MAN, and a Mercedes Benz. His favourite truck was his last, it was an International ACCO 3070 as it had a sleeper cab. It was a luxury not having to contort his body around a gear stick. Having air-conditioning was another luxury.

In 1979 Geoff suffered a serious accident when a split rim blew apart and threw him 10 metres. He was in hospital with serious back and shoulder injuries for three months and did not start driving for another six months. Geoff ran his trucking business from 1951 until 1982 when he decided to get out of the livestock haulage business. He then drove fuel tankers from Swan Hill to Melbourne for the next five years before deciding to go back to the land to work on local farms in the Quambatook district. For another 17 years he was still able to drive trucks carting grain and finally getting to drive his dream truck, a Kenworth K120.

It was not until 2005 that Geoff retired and was finally able to take his wife Edna to all those places he has promised over the years.

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