Ron Shanks was born in 1947, he lived on the family farm Dalwood 15 miles from Dubbo in New South Wales. He excelled at school and did many courses after finishing his schooling. He wanted to be a welder so he enrolled in the Dubbo Tafe and rode his pushbike there and back after each night along the Newell Highway.
Ron met Lola Hawken at the Rawsonville hall while attending a dance. It was the first dance Lola had ever been to and well, everything after that is history. They married in 1969 and Ron went to work for Bruce Dickinson building stock crates. Ron enjoyed the job so much he decided he and Lola should start their own business.
To begin, Ron leased a paddock with a lean-to shed and one power point from Noel Star in 1973. He had a manual pipe bender with a stick welder and an oxy set. He employed one man and for the first six weeks could not work as it rained nonstop and with no shed, work was on hold. February 3rd 1973 saw the beginning of what was to be over 40 years of Shanks Trailers. Ron and Lola achieved much over that time.
By 1975 Ron was employing eight men with Lola doing the spray painting and book keeping which she found challenging with three small children and no baby sitters. Then by 2003 they were employing 45 men and four women.
In 1982 Ron and Lola travelled to the United States of America and researched all their aluminium trailers finding that these outlasted any trailer in Australia. On return, Ron along with Alcan researched and planned his first two deck cattle trailer. It was a further two years before this was ready for delivery to his customer Joe Welsh who went on to purchase another 12 of these trailers which are still on the road today. Richard Carter ordered his trailer with piped music for the cattle, lighting inside and a hydraulic cattle ramp powered by solar and battery pack, now extensively used throughout the industry.
The manufacturing side of Shanks Trailers included two by one, three by two, four by two, B-doubles, roadtrains, tri-axle dollies, side and normal tipping trailers and a trailer that carried livestock one way and grain the other way and many table top crates.
Shanks Trailers sponsored the Livestock Association in all states and the National Roadtrain Association. Ron and Lola retired in 2012 they are travelling through Australia visiting the many friends they have made in the livestock transport industry. In 2014 Shanks Trailers was purchased by Southern Cross Trailers in South Australia.