Johannes Ernest Anderson, known as Ernie, was born in 1929 in Stonefield, South Australia. Ernie left school at the age of 14 and began working for local farmers who only had horses. Eventually, Ernie was employed by a farmer who owned a truck and a tractor and it was at this stage that he learnt to drive and gained his licence.
Ernie left farming in 1939 and bought his first truck, a Chevrolet. He earned his living cutting wood and selling it for firewood. Later he purchased a Diamond T. Ernie met Dora and they married in 1944 before moving from the Barossa Valley to Loxton, South Australia.
Ernie worked for the local council for a few years before establishing his own transport business in 1955 with two Commers and two Leyland trucks. He transported grapes from the Riverland to wineries throughout the Barossa Valley, fruit to canneries, grain to silos during the wheat harvest, general freight, bulk oranges and tankers of wine, both locally and interstate. Around this time, Mount Gambier stone was a popular building material in Loxton and Ernie also carted stone regularly. Ernie also made trips to interstate markets, mostly to Melbourne, where he enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from various backgrounds, often Greek or Italian. He would entertain his family with stories about his new friends’ food, culture and football. The family all became Footscray followers.
Ernie purchased many trucks throughout the years. After the Chevrolet and the Diamond T, there were Fords, Commers, Leylands, K5 International, Dodge and a Ford Louisville. At this stage, Ernie employed drivers for both local and interstate trips. One day he received a call from a driver at the Flemington Market in Sydney advising that the load had been successfully delivered and that he was taking the weekend off. The driver said he would be back at work on Monday but after hearing nothing from the driver, Ernie contacted the Flemington police. The truck was found abandoned and hidden behind the markets and still intact except for a few missing engine parts.
With Dora’s help the business ran for over 50 years. Ernie retired when he was 73 to spend more time with his wife and he became an active lifetime member of the Loxton Lion’s Club. After the death of his wife, Ernie’s health failed and he passed away in August, 2005. Inducted in 2021