Born September 1936, Ray Mantova was introduced to the transport industry at the age of 15 on Marion Downs Station in North West Queensland. Ray went on to become a well-respected and knowledgeable roadtrain operator, foreman for Lambs Interstate Transport and then foreman for Buntine's before venturing out as an owner driver.
Ray experienced everything that life could throw at a trucker during those formidable years, a period of transition from droving to road transport of cattle.
Upon leaving Lambs to join Buntine's in the Kimberly and the Northern Territory, Ray was quickly put through his paces by Buntine who measured the new employee's salt. Ray soon became an invaluable employee to Buntine as a road boss and foreman. Ray trained and educated all the drivers who looked to him for leadership and direction.
When Noel Buntine was convalescing in the Brisbane Mater Hospital, Ray was saddled with the task of keeping the Buntine trucks on the road while accountant Neil Carruthers held the administration together. With the support of all the drivers, bush mechanics and administration staff, Mack trucks and Haulmark trailers, Ray managed to record the highest grossing year of income without loss of any staff, vehicle or trailer. An incredible feat!
In 1970, after participating in some of this country's longest cattle hauls, including the Boggabilla New South Wales to Halls Creek Western Australia run, Ray reluctantly left Buntine's to take a lucrative contract with LJ Hooker Pastoral, owner of VRD Station and many other properties. With the encouragement from its General Manager Mr Pat Shaw and Noel Buntine, Victoria River Transport (VRT) was born.
VRT business name was carried forward in later years by Denis Buntine who was one of Ray's trainees in the early 1970s. In the mid to late 1970s, Ray retired from the Territory to concentrate on specialist heavy lifting transfers throughout the eastern seaboard. Ray resides in Brisbane with his wife Ursula. Ursula like all truckers wives was a significant support for Ray and his business and like many trucking women was representative of the back bone of our trucking industry.