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Year: 2004


Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2004.

Peter Gilbert was born in 1945 to a transport family and is the third generation to work in the industry. Proudly displayed in his office are photos from the early horse and cart days. As a child, Peter spent much of his time learning the ropes from his peers.

In 1963 he purchased his first truck, a Bedford tray body and began Peter Gilbert Freight as an owner/driver, carrying stock and general goods to and from Adelaide and the surrounding hills district from his Strathalbyn depot.

Peter was a member of the Country Carriers Association, which was the main dispatch base in Adelaide for country transport. Strathalbyn and outlying towns relied on Peter to supply their goods. As his business grew so did the need for articulated vehicles to carry the larger volumes of freight. He carted grain, which was shifted from paddock to silo and onto Port Adelaide for export. Grapes from Langhorne Creek were taken to wineries all over South Australia. A major part of Peter's business was moving cattle, sheep and goats all over the outback when drought or markets warranted their adjistment or sale. After the devastation of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy in December 1974, Darwin had to rebuild. This led to another era; roadtrains. He started going north with a Transtar and two flat tops, followed by two Atkinsons specifically built for roadtrain work.

Those days of dirt roads, bulldust and unpredictable rains made it difficult to maintain regular schedules with a round trip taking between two to four weeks. In 1977 a meat company approached Peter to tow their fridge van carrying hanging meat to Darwin and carton buff meat from Point Stuart to Brisbane. This continued for several years until Peter took over the van and started his own refrigeration service that has continued to grow and support businesses in the Northern Territory.

The early 80s saw big changes with Peter striving to manage a growing business. He gave up driving to work in the office. Two R-model Macks, dry vans and fridge vans were now on the Darwin run. Peter decided to sell his local stock and general business to concentrate on the Territory work. Gilbert's Transport Service was born. The South Road was sealed making the trip easier for man and machine. This changed the face of the outback but not the memories and stories of those who did it hard. In 1998 the Strathalbyn depot was sold. The business moved into a depot and cold stores at Cavan and Gilberts became one of the largest freight transporters servicing the Territory.

Peter still works in the business with his family; his wife Lorraine, and son Phillip, daughter Kathy and grandson, Alex. A proud family man, he is a well-respected and devoted 'Gentle Giant' of the industry.

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