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Year: 2014







14MAZZAport 14MAZZAfirsttruckIntertipper

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.


Raymond Mazza made a name trucking Coca Cola from Perth to the remote Pilbara region often driving more than 11,000 klms a week delivering soft drinks to the Port Hedland and Karratha. His big red rig became known locally as the 'Coke Train' and made for an arresting sight in the Outback of Western Australia. The 44 pallets that he regularly hauled contained 57,888 cans. It was a family lifestyle with the road train bound his family together; son Colin joined him on runs with the pair taking turns to drive and sleep while his daughters Vicki, Robyn and Julie cleaned and detailed the truck and wife Dawn, saw that bills were promptly paid.


Ray Mazza was born in Meekatharra on March 4, 1937, the sixth of seven children to an Italian migrant. It was a tough upbring- ing in Ora Banda and Gwalia. He survived by shooting rabbits on the Nullarbor in frigid weather and extreme heat. By 1958 he was a car salesman in Geraldton where he met and married his wife Dawn. The newlyweds then moved to Kalgoorlie, where Ray drove buses before buying a tipper truck and working for Main Roads. By then, he was a family man living at the Minilya Bridge caravan park before working in Exmouth and Carnarvon. Ray eventually sold the tipper and bought his first semi-trailer to cart general.


Within two years, he was contracted to deliver Coca-Cola to the remote north. He remained there for seven years owning two prime movers and employing three drivers, brothers Peter and John Heath and his brother-in-law RalphDeVille. When Ralph died from medical complications at 28, Ray and Dawn immortalised him by naming all their trucks Mr Ralphy; believing he watched over them and kept them safe. In 1979, Ray downsized and worked for Schweppes, Cottees and carted general. In 1981, his son Colin began working for him and, in 1986, Ray was excited to be offered a second chance to drive for Coke. He invented apparatus for the easier loading and unloading of cans and bottles.


In 1996, Ray and Colin flew to Brisbane and bought a new Mack Elite truck. It was Ray's last truck. He sold the Coca Cola contract in 1998 and retired in 1999. It took him six months to sell the Mack because he found it hard to let go.


A year later, Ray was fighting against prostate cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Ray Mazza had secondary bone cancer and succumbed to a heart attack on 26 May 2012. He was 75. He leaves his wife, four children, seven grandchildren and five siblings.


 


 










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