Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Ross Hardy was born in May 1946 and started his career in the transport industry working for two local carriers, firstly in the workshop and then driving after hours. Eventually he gave up working as a mechanic and went full time driving.
Ross purchased his own truck in 1970. It was a fully imported Kenworth K125 bought through Kenworth Trucks at Coffs Harbour for $25,000. He was as proud as punch of it and used it to haul mineral sand from various locations along the east coast back to the processing plant at Kingscliff. During the early 1970s he also tow operated for Trail Bay Haulage and Frigmobile and did flat top work carting timber to Brisbane.
Over the following years the Hardy fleet grew to six trucks in 1977 and nine in 1982 before the State Government closed some mining leases in NSW. This impacted the viability of the business dramatically so Ross redirected his core business to carrying industrial bulk products which remains the mainstay of business today.
During the 1980s, Hardys Haulage had a mixed fleet of convertibles, flat tops and Class eight tankers to cover dry bulk, general and corrosive goods. By the 1990s the company was concentrating on long-distance dry bulk which is now 100% of the business.
In 2012 Ross operates 25 units, all Cummins powered Kenworths of various models and combinations. His previous workshop knowledge of the Kenworth chassis has convinced Ross that regular servicing, from day one, is the key to reliability, and that the Kenworth marque is economic to rebuild.
The original K125 was a good, basic, well-engineered and very reliable truck which formed the foundation of our business; perhaps the saddest day in my career was the day we sold it, to a subcontractor, after 18 years of faithful service.
He said those early days were all about making your own luck through long hours and doing as many loads as possible. During his time in the industry, Ross has always belonged to an association representing the Long Distance sector of the industry. In the 1990s Hardys Haulage was one of the pilots (No. 25) to participate in their roadworthiness program.
Ross remains actively engaged in the business on a part-time basis. He credits another key ingredient in his successful business is having a high percentage of dedicated staff members who understand their role without needing to be told on a daily basis. He says Hardys have been very fortunate in this aspect.
Hardy's Transport has progressed through the years under a family trust structure. Today, Ross and Elaine's son, Laeton, with assistance from other family members, continues to guide the business into the 21st century.