First Trucks in the Ranges is the life story of Seth Trenfield. Seth’s grandfather, John Trenfield, arrived in Gaffneys Creek in 1871 to work with his uncle, John Wood ,who was a storekeeper. John and Mary Trenfield had thirteen children and eventually took over the Gaffney Creek store. Seth’s father, also called Seth worked as a Carrier, from the early 1900s. He serviced the area from Mansfield to Woods Point and had wagons and drays and many horses. As well as general cartage he also carried equipment for the AI and other mines. In the mid 1920s Seth Senior, who was then about 40, realised that horse transportation had had its day and learned to drive. He purchased a red 1926 REO Speedwagon, 2 ton truck with single rear wheels and pneumatic tyres. It had an Australian made cabin which was extra wide and allowed a passenger to sit on the right of the driver as well as two on the left. The REO was the first truck in the Gaffneys Creek area. The REO carted goods from the train at Mansfield to Gaffneys Creek and the A1 Mine settlement. The roads were rough and it was not uncommon to have three punctures on the trip from Mansfield to Gaffneys Creek. The REO was later replaced another REO and later by a Fargo. Seth, the author of this book, left school at 14 in 1934 and stated working with his father - when he was16 he appeared before the Children’s Court for driving the Fargo without a licence and he was fined 5 shillings. His father was fined ten shillings for allowing him to drive. When he sat for his licence at 18, the Woods Point policeman said I have seen you driving about the place for months, so I don’t need to give you a test.
When Seth married in 1942 he and his wife Mohya opened a shop in Gaffneys Creek but still owned trucks which carted general freight and livestock. They later built a garage and had the Shell Agency. They sold up in 1970 which ended the 70 years of the association of the Trenfield family with Road transport. This is an interesting book with plenty of stories of bad roads, adventures with trucks, the battle with the TRB and other tales of life in the hills around Gaffneys Creek.
The book, First Trucks in the Ranges by Seth Trenfield, is published by Histec Publications and is available from the Mansfield Historical Society . The cost is $20.00. If you want more information on Gaffneys Creek read Gold at Gaffneys Creek by Brian Lloyd. It appears to be out of print so try your local Library.