Tocumwal truckie Ken Smith has been inducted into the National Shell Rimula Wall of Fame in Alice Springs.
Mr Smith and his wife Nola travelled to Alice Springs for the ceremony last month, which was held at the National Road Transport Museum.
Mr Smith has been in the trucking business all of his working life, and that adds up to more than 50 years.
He has a very interesting face with lots of laugh lines – he’s 78 but does not look a day over 70.
Mr Smith said he and his mates on the road had a hard life, but liked to have good, safe fun.
The twinkle in his eye says that despite some very serious health issues recently, he still gets a big kick out of life.
Mr Smith was born in Echuca and settled in Tocumwal in 2001 for so-called retirement.
Having a lifetime of experience with heavy vehicles, it wasn’t long before he was driving school buses from Tocumwal to Finley in the morning and afternoon.
He also managed to fit in a new career as an OH&S officer with a trucking company in Cobram.
Mr Smith has driven 18-wheelers in every state in the Commonwealth.
As an owner-driver, his preferred run was Melbourne to Adelaide but he was regarded by many as the ‘go-to-man’ for specialist work.
One specialised task was his cartage of the racing car, the ‘Golden Arrow’, to all mainland states.
The Golden Arrow had been driven by Sir Henry Segrave in 1929 to claim the world land speed record.
Because he has done such a great job at that task, he was called upon later to transport Sir Donald Campbell’s racing car ‘The Blue Bird’ on a similar tour of the mainland.
Mr Smith said it was a ‘‘huge beast of a car, over four metres high and the length of his semi trailer’’.
Driving trucks was not Mr Smith’s only job.
He worked in sales at times for Mcgrath Trailers, and was also a salesman for Scania.
His greatest pleasure was ensuring that the trailer manufacturers provided him with the personalised product that he believed best reflected his own high standards when supplied to his clients.
Mr Smith has always been a willing mentor to young sales people, and did not hesitate to share his vast knowledge or network of clients and friends to assist the newcomers to the industry.
Mr and Mrs Smith are enjoying retirement in Tocumwal despite hitting a few health potholes on the road of life.
They have five adult children and several grandchildren who they spoil when they can.
Mr Smith is held in high esteem by the Road Transport fraternity, which was acknowledged with his Wall of Fame honour.
~ Anne Jones
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