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Year: 2018

Eric Walter Bailey was born in Hereford England on the 8th May 1929 and married Sylvia Holland in 1951.

Eric started in trucking in the UK in 1958 running a contract haulage business servicing farms in and around the county of Herefordshire. Eric has a long established road transport family history in the UK as his great great grandfather Thomas Lambert Bailey, born in 1800, started the firm of Bailey's which operated firstly carrier carts and then coaches and lorries. Eric's brother Keith ran his own transport business and their father Walter Bailey (great grandson of Thomas) had owned a taxi business and then drove buses in Hereford until he retired.

Eric's first acquisition was an Army QL Bedford 4WD, followed by an ERF tipper truck. The business grew until Eric had 4 trucks, 2 truck spreaders, 2 trailer spreaders with International tractors and employed several drivers.

In August 1968 Eric and his family immigrated to Perth Western Australia. This was the time when the north of WA was really opening up and required transport of machinery and goods. Eric bought a 1963 Leyland Beaver, 600 cubic inch, air brakes, twin steer, single drive, 1000 litre fuel tank with turntable and single axle trailer. This was the start of many adventures in the north trucking to Pt Hedland, Broome, Derby and many other northern towns. Who would have thought that on his first trip north he would travel 2500 kms of dirt road on a 4000k round trip?

The roads and river crossings were often treacherous and some even non existent. He drove a dry river bed to access Paraburdoo with a load of earthenware pipes and the road to the mine was so narrow and steep that to turn around a crane had to lift the trailer while the prime mover shunted around.

Eric did all his own repairs and maintenance and often had to be very creative on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Memorable trips include a rebuild of the motor using old tin cans to drain the engine oil into, experiencing 17 flat tyres and forming gaiters out of rust bands turned the wrong way inside the tyre to repair them and losing a large tank off the back of the truck and having to improvise towing and ramps to get it back onto the trailer.

In 1973 Eric bought a 1967 Longnose Leyland Hippo, converted to single drive. By this time the bitumen extended much further and he was doing a regular drum run to Derby. This was followed in 1980 by a 1971 Scammel with a double drive axle which he used for transporting pipe work from Fremantle Wharf for the Dampier-Bunbury gas pipeline and then commenced carting crushed cars from rubbish tips and scrap metal to the scrap boats at Fremantle.

Eric always worked hard and long hours to support his wife and seven children. He retired from trucking in 1990 at the age of 61 and currently lives in Armadale WA with his second wife. His legacy lives on as all four sons have been involved in trucking, one son with wife and two grandsons are owner/operators of Bailey's Body Builders and one grandson and wife are owner/operators of Kenny's R Us. During his retirement he has rebuilt a Ford Transit bakers van into a campervan for travelling in his beloved north WA.

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