ALPEN, Eric

Inducted onto the Wall of Fame at Reunion 2015

Eric William Alpen was born 11th August 1936 in Griffith NSW.  His early childhood was spent helping his parents (William and Erica Alpen) in the family transport business which had been established since 1940.  From an early age, Eric worked with his father after school and on weekends loading and unloading trucks of vegetables for the local land army girls as well as deliveries to local retailers and farms.  At this time, the transport business comprised of a Fargo truck, a Chev Four and a horse and cart.  The business then went on to acquire a number of ex-army vehicles including an International KBS5 and a Dodge servicing larger acreage farms delivering grain to the rail system and to storage.  The purchase of an International KBS7 and a freighter single axle trailer for £1,093 in 1947 enabled the business to undertake longer distance livestock haulage throughout NSW and Victoria.

After Eric completed his mechanical and automotive electrical apprenticeship in 1955 with a local mechanic, he officially commenced work with his parents’ transport business.  Eric was away from home for months at a time, sometimes greater than three months, moving livestock in stock crates. During this period trucks progressed from the KBS, C180 Inter to the V8 Dodges and Inters.  The highways were corrugated dirt and were often impassable. Eric was once stranded for eight days 28 miles west of Hay on a return trip from Loxton.

In 1973, Eric and his younger brothers, Ken and Keith, took over the family business which comprised of six trucks and eight employees.  The business expanded, opening up to general freight and fuel transport with depots in Sydney and Melbourne.  With the acquisition of a number of local trucking firms, the company grew to thirty trucks (over the years this ranged from Inters, 1418s, Macks, Western Stars and Kenworths to name a few) and around fifty employees.  To keep pace with the growing export industry, in the late 90’s Alpen’s (Griffith) Pty Limited partnered with FreightCorp to administer the local rail system.  Eric retired in 2001 after the sale of Alpen’s (Griffith) Pty Limited to Patrick Corporation.