Robert Eric Shackell known as Bob was born in 1950 in Murwillumbah, northern New South Wales.
Bob grew up in the Tweed region finishing his schooling at 15 to drive earth moving equipment where his skills and passion for machinery started.
In 1973 Bob married his wife Robyn and they had four children Melina, Karen, Tim and Katie.
It was January 1976 that Bob had a yearning to purchase his own truck. A 1969 F86 Volvo prime mover was purchased and he started as an owner operator free lance doing interstate driving. It was no time though before Bob commenced his association with the Condong Sugar Mill carting 44 gallon drums of molasses south bound, six drums here, ten drums there with up to ten deliveries all loaded and unloaded by hand.
In 1978 Bob bought a new set of aluminium demountable tanks to transport bulk molasses and everyone said he was mad. His passion and love of the industry was growing and in 1984 he purchased a W900 with a 350 CAT engine from Brown and Hurley in Coffs Harbour. It was the most exciting and memorable truck he ever bought and was the start of the growth of the business. That truck stayed in the fleet for 18 years and travelled about 3.8 million kilometres.
In 1985 a second truck was added to the business along with a rubber bag to carry molasses giving better payloads.
It was very much a family effort with Robyn cleaning inside the cab, the kids washing wheels and family members that visited helping out, allowing some family time before the next trip.
The late 80’s and early 90’s were good years. Bob gained more work, added more trucks and equipment and always tried to specialise in lower volume, more difficult hence better paying freight.
The business has been steadily growing over the years and by 2017 Shackell Transport operates 25 prime movers and 40 trailers across four states. Bob’s son Tim works with him in the business.
Bob has enjoyed the transport industry, saying ”I am an ordinary person who had a dream. The early years were tough going though. I wouldn’t have made it without the help and support of all my family, friends, loyal staff, customers and suppliers”.