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Year: 2016

Merv Forrester born on the 5th of July 1938 grew up on a dairy farm at Woreen in South Gippsland Vic, working with his parents, two brothers and a sister.

His schooling was minimal at Woreen Primary School then Leongatha High School, leaving as soon as he possibly can.

Farm work was done with draught horses until 1949 when their first tractor, a Massey Ferguson arrived. As there was no power in the district until 1953, everything was done the hard way until then.

The dairy herd was sold in 1955 and soon Merv's father Reg started a fuel/Oil delivery service for the Neptune Oil Co, taking drums of fuel/oil to local farmers with his first truck, a Bedford with a 15 ft tray. He kept the boys busy, starting to buy bobby claves and also starting up a Hay Contracting business. They still have a self propelled baler using it for the farm and for neighbours. Once the round bales came in, they were rarely required to bale small square bales.

Merv got his licence on the 15th July 1956 and has not lost a point off it. He worked with his father and brothers as R.R. Forrester and sons, driving a Bedford Semi with a 32 ft stock crate and trailer, thereafter starting the livestock carrying business that is still going today. His father drove a Commer tray truck and stock crate.

Mervs brother Bob went his own way in 1959 leaving Merv and his brother Gordon to do the carrying.

In the early 60's, Pop sold 160 acres of his farm keeping 10 acres to build a new house on. At the same time Merv bought his first Prime Mover, a Commer Knocker, working for himself and with his father.

Merv and his wife were married in 1962 and their first child, a daughter, was born in 1963. In 1965 they had their second child and first son, and also bought a new truck, a Dodge 1016. In 1967 roughly he purchased another Dodge, a 760 series, the business requiring both trucks.

Trailers were Fruehauf or Freighters both with stock crates. In 1969 Merv's parents offered them their house and 10 acres if we bought them a house in Longatha. They jumped at the chance and still live in that house.

In 1970 second son Danny arrived and also traded the Dodge 1016 in on a Mercedes Benz 1418. The 760 Dodge was later traded in on an International. In 1977 they traded the Benz in on their first Scania, a 111. At the end of the 70's the International and trailer was traded in on a Scania 141, this being a Bogey drive, now able to pull a double decker crate legally.

He worked with Thomas Borthwick and Sons for years and must have carried 10's of thousands of cattle and sheep in that Scania. Great people to work with. Have had great clientele over the 60 years Merv has been driving. Bloody hard work but knows nothing else.

The last trucks bought were a Scania 142 in 1985, a second hand Acco a bit later and a UD Nissan tray truck in 2005. Bought a Byrnes 48' calf-sheep crate in late 80's early 90's. Reg sold his tray truck in 1989 (he was 79). He had done a mighty job. We bought a second hand Dodge tray to fill in the void.

1999 saw them buy Reg's original 160 acres back which they still have to fatten cattle on it.

Merv's parents passed away early 2003 within a fortnight of one another. Nanna was 90 and Pop was nearly 94. Merv kept the calf buying business until 2006 50 years old- and it was sold to Midfield Meats. 50 years of slog, lifting claves onto scales, loading and unloading at each end and delivering, sometimes to Portland, sometimes to Warrnambool and all points in between. It was a small family business with Merv's sister and husband, daughter and partner and Son and partner all doing their bit. And Jill, Merv's wife, doing the books.

They have slowed down a bit now. B doubles have taken a lot of work off them but they still have a few good customers. Merv has had 2 knee replacements, one in 2011 the other in 2015. Thank goodness he wasn't a caterpillar. Merv and Jill have been very lucky health wise and hope to keep going a little while longer.

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