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Year: 2015

When Sergeant H E (Ernie) Thomas was discharged from the RAAF in 1945, he came home to Main Ridge to his wife Mary who he had married in 1942. They then purchased 82 acres of bush on the corner of Purves and Main Creek R in Main Ridge.

They cleared the land as they could afford it while paying off the loan on the property. Selling firewood led to a transport partnership and Ernie purchased an ex-army Chevrolet semi-trailer. He bought a business from Chas Roberts which included a second hand Chev and all licences. This included a cream run in cans from the southern Peninsula to Melbourne and a rented depot from Lawrence Receiving Depot.

Over the years Ernie carted all sorts of produce and had agencies for a lot of companies. These included fertiliser, chemicals, Vacuum Oil, top dressing pasture, fruit vegetables, potatoes, fence posts, machinery, water (domestic and business), timber, Lysaght steel and live chickens for Golden Poultry and Inghams. If it could fit on the back of a truck they would cart it.

Companies that were contracted included J A Arnold & Sons, Tom Piper Ltd, Brambles, D A Wells Pty Ltd, Alltrans Interstate, Mayne Nicholas, Kwickasair, W C Osborne, Jack Seaton Transport, Pioneer Quarries, Playfair Meat Export, H W Wilson Abbatoirs, Ingham Pet Food and many more.

Many trucks were purchased of various makes and types. Early days saw a Ford, an International KB6, a Dodge, two Leyland Comets, two Commer Diesels, a Federal with a McGrath trailers, a Cummins prime mover, a Diamond T, four Macks, a Ford Louisville and five Volvos.

When Ernie and Mary passed away in 2002 the business was ably carried on by their family and is still flourishing after 70 years.

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Alice Springs, NT

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