Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2000.
1913 - 2001
Young David Baldock arrived in the tiny town of Tennant Creek the same day Joe Kazinski sold his mine and an open cheque had been thrown across the bar. It was 1934 and the whole town turned out to celebrate. The fighting went on for days.
Dave, who didn't drink or smoke, wondered what on earth he'd let himself in for. He found a job little appreciating at the time that it would lead him to become the town's vital lifeline.
By 1937 Dave had started his own carrying business. With two single-drive V8 Ford tray-trucks he hauled from the railhead in Alice Springs, along the Old Telegraph Line maintenance track, to Tennant Creek. Dave drove both trucks himself. He achieved this by driving the first truck (with persihables) to Tennant Creek, flying back to Alice Springs and driving the second truck (with dry goods) to Tennant Creek and then driving back to Alice with the second truck piggybacked on the first.
With the upgrading of the track in WW11, Dave introduced dual-wheeled GMCs to his fleet and at war's end he purchased two 200 hp Diamond T 980 tank retrieval tractors from the army surplus sales. These trucks were powerful enough to tow seven trailers loaded with around 12 tons each. The average length of a Baldock roadtrain was 186 metres and the only set of brakes was in the truck itself.
The truck had to be kept in low gear as it went downhill or the trailers would push the truck foward. At the next upgrade you'd have to drive at full speed to keep ahead of the gaining momentum of the trailers. The number of trailers was determined by the power of the truck, the condition of the road and the skill of the driver. Dave Baldock certainly had that skill. He was also a foundation member of the Territory Transport Association and a shareholder of Co-ord Transport. In 1955 he moved to Adelaide for treatment of a bad back and by 1966 had sold out all his interests in Alice Springs.
His ingenuity helped pave the way for the development of the modern roadtrain. Dave Baldock was a Foundation Member of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. He passed away in April, 2001. The road upon which the National Road Transport Hall of Fame sits was recently named 'Dave Baldock Drive' in his honour.