NICHOL, Ralph

Ralph Nichol was born at Sunshine Victoria in 1934. Ralph’s career in the transport industry started aged ten working alongside his father to maintain the first fleet of trucks at the Albion quarry during the transition from horse and dray to road trucks. Ralph followed his father’s passion for trucks and absorbed as much as he could while working under his command learning to operate and repair a vast range of equipment.

As soon as Ralph was able to convince his mother to allow him to leave school he found himself employment with anyone willing to give him a go. At 13 Ralph gained his first full time job working for Vic Hunt a local transport operator. He assisted with carting anything that could go on a tray truck including carting block ice from Anglesea in the early hours of the morning, distributing direct to household ice chests before fridges were around, as well as carting stooks of hay from local farms to Melton.

Aged 15 Ralph was working for Sunshine farmer and transport operator Lloyd Dolman. Ralph decided the city life was not for him and boarded a steam train for Bendigo winding up in Bamawm Victoria working as a farm hand. After a short stint in the army and gaining his licence Ralph returned in 1953 and bought his first Austin tray truck and met his wife Dorothy. Ralph spotted the need for a livestock carrier in the area and soon built his own crate carting livestock for many years and regularly updating his fleet of predominately Ford trucks.

In 1963 Ralph saw an opportunity in the supply and distribution of fertiliser and constructed a depot on the Lockington rail siding and adapted his fleet to suit his needs. 1974 saw the worst drought in the areas history with fertiliser sales dropping from approximately 15000 ton annually to just 1200. Ralph started mining sand and his sons would distribute it to cement plants and foundries throughout Bendigo into the early 1980’s until the demand for fertiliser returned.

In 1993 Ralph built a fertiliser depot in Rochester which his son Brian and family operate to this day with a fleet of 12 trucks employing approximately 20 staff.

Ralph and Dorothy Nichol retired to Bendigo in 2002 following 58 years in the transport industry.