Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.
Rod Downes was born in Nambour Qld and came to the Northern Territory to work as a ringer on Rosewood Station. Eventually he went to Jandowae to work for Baldwin's Livestock and General Carriers. Ken Baldwin taught him how to drive semi-trailers. He initially drove a Dodge with a 120hp Perkins diesel and later drove V8 petrols. Rod loved the life and always said that one day he would own his own road train. Rod worked for Ken Baldwin and East Kimberly Transport up until 1967 when he went to Brunette Downs Station and did the wet seasons at Peko Mines. There was, he discovered, little money in ringing! He then decided to go into road works with the Commonwealth Department of Works on the Borroloola Road. After that, Rod did a short stint driving a grader for Max Nelson on the Victoria River Beef Roads project.
In 1970 Rod took a job with Buntine Roadways and purchased a grader off Max Nelson. Later, Noel Buntine helped Rod purchase a V8 Maxidyne Mack R700 and Rod sold the grader to his brother Terry and went subbying with Buntines. Over the years several more Macks followed. In 1979 Rod subbied for Jim Whitte carting in and out of his crusher on the outskirts of Katherine. In 1979 Downes Construction was formed in a partnership between Rod and his brother Terry. In 1980 Rod purchased a Kenworth Cab over (GM 92T) and stock crates and started carting cattle. Slack Tom drove for him at this time. Over this period Rod also owned a W model Kenworth, a six cylinder B Model Mack, a Cat powered Kenworth Aerodyne and a new Kenworth T950 which was rolled soon after. Rod's wife Gloria operated her own fruit and veg shop in the 1980s and Rod put a driver, Des Turner, in his truck as he was looking for a change of scenery. He eventually sold the truck to Des Turner and the business became Turner Transport. Rod opened the Bridgestone Tyre Centre in Katherine in 1993 and to this day is still changing truck tyres with his daughter Michele helping in the business following Gloria's untimely passing.
Rod Downes is still involved in the trucking industry through the supply and fitment quality tyres for many Territory truckies.