Calvin (Bimbo) Jones is the grandson of a Tasmanian Bullock team driver so it was perhaps inevitable Calvin ‘Bimbo’ Jones would end up following in his father’s Royce’s footsteps and join the transport industry.
In the late sixties a young teenage Bimbo Jones was propped in the driver’s seat of a ten yard tipper in the steep Northeastern Tasmanian logging country. Calvin could barely see over the steering wheel, the truck’s owner stuck an old army slouch hat on his head to make him look a little older and then sent him off down a dirt track with his first load of gravel.
A few years later, Bimbo Jones had barely turned 18. He was then at the wheel of a 1973 single drive International Cummins powered D Series, to be exact, hooked to a bogy axle trailer. Bimbo hauled his first load of general freight from the Melbourne to Sydney for Lanes.
That truck was secondhand, but that outfit was much more than just a young man’s pride and joy. It was his ride to the future, though at that moment he probably was not exactly sure where the ride was heading. Yet that Inter was his greatest risk because back then, $4,200 was an awful lot of money to spend on anything, not least a venture with a precarious grip on certainty.
Whether Calvin bothered to think about the risk or even permitted himself to think much further into the future than getting that load up the Hume highway to Sydney, from then on trucks and the timber industry were locked permanently into Bimbo’s life.
However Bimbo’s passion for his family and community back home saw him return Northeast Tasmania, after 12 months of interstate, where he became a founding member of the local Crows football club. Calvin played for the team up until he was 50 and today still sponsors the team by donating all the football jumpers.
A little over four decades later and the transport company, CR & S Jones that he formed with his wife Susanne has transformed along the way to one of the prominent Tasmanian timber haulage companies in the state.
Yet it hasn’t been an easy road, it’s had more than its fair share of corrugations too. In July 1992 they purchased a general freight run from Scottsdale to Launceston consisting of two rigid trucks building the business up to include two semi trailers and forklifts.
Along with the acquisition of the new business and contracts with corporate clients, Bimbo had, for the first time, to begin using his given name. His older brother Max, who could not pronounce Calvin, dubbed him Bimbo since birth. At that time singer Jim Reeves’ song ‘Bimbo’ was a hit on the radio and story goes that Max picked it up from there.
Eight years later they sold the general freight run to concentrate on bulk timber product distribution and services with the addition of their first walking floor chip bin.
Today their fleet of four Western Stars with three specialized walking floors, two flat tops and one curtain sider concentrate on delivering products from the last remaining sawmill in the Northeast district.
It’s now close to 45 years since that young Bimbo Jones hauled his first load of sawn timber out of a North East Tasmanian sawmill.
Calvin has a sharp eye for detail and quick wit leaving no doubt of the energetic character smoldering close under the skin, he’s a man who spends life looking more through the windscreen than the mirrors.
If you listen to ‘Tasmania Talks’ on the morning radio where Bimbo is a regular, you will quickly realize what matters like the impact of government regulation, industry unity and commercial opportunity run far more fluid in his mindset than trips down memory lane.
However passing on his experience to the younger generation of aspiring drivers to ensure the transport industry has a strong future is close to Calvins heart.
Instilling his drive, skills, business ethics and generosity into the transport industry is legacy that cannot go unnoticed.