Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Bedford on fire

In the last post, we had an Atkinson under water, so I thought I would continue with the disaster theme and show you a Bedford on fire. These photographs were taken in early February 1967. The J-Model Bedford was delivering fuel to Aub Goodman's farm on Pitt Road in Vervale (next to Cora Lynn) and it just caught on fire. There were two 44 gallon drums of petrol on the back, which went up first, then the two tanks of diesel caught fire. The driver escaped without injury.

The top two photographs were taken by my father, Frank Rouse and the bottom photograph was taken by my Uncle, Jim Rouse. It even made the front page of the local paper, The Koo-Wee-Rup Sun.

Koo-Wee-Rup Sun, Page 1, February 8, 1967.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Atkinson under water

Truck & Bus Transportation, May 1974, page 12. (Click on picture to enlarge)

We borrowed some old Truck & Bus magazines from a friend and John came across this Atkinson advertisement (above). It shows a picture of Jim Forrest's Atkinson underwater in early 1974. Apparently Jim, and a group of others, were parked at the QTT Transport Terminal in Rocklea in Brisbane. It had been raining for five days and the creek flooded. Jim heard a bit of noise outside, swung his feet off the sleeper bunk and got wet feet! Atkinson towed his truck from the terminal, stripped it back and Jim was back in operation less than eight days after the event.

John drove this same truck, which had a 671 GM, during one of his leave periods from the Tri-Ellis. This picture was taken late 1974 on the Cunningham Highway, near Inglewood.

In my next post, we will continue on the disaster theme and show a Bedford on Fire.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kenworths at Camerons Transport

After working at Fleetways, John was looking around for another job and he called in at Camerons at Doncaster and talked to Ray Sinclair. The next day a telegram arrived 'Job available at Camerons, report at 8.00am tomorrrow'. They started him in the Depot loading chiller vans with fruit and doing local deliveries and pick-ups. Got told off by Ray Sinclair in the first five minutes for walking on the middle of the fruit boxes, not along the edges. Later the same week got told off by Jack Bateman for backing across the yard with the van door open.

Tubbs Hill, Old Hume Highway, southbound, about 1970. S-model, GM 6V71, 12 speed Spicer.
After two weeks he was offered a trip in an S-Model Kenworth, he took it for a trial run around the block a few times with one of the experienced drivers and got used to the 12-speed Spicer box. That night, he left at 8.00pm on the Yass Relay. John had to be there at 8.00 the next morning, when another driver took the truck to Sydney. He spent the next 12 hours at the Yass Motel and then left at 8.00pm to return to Melbourne. He did this for the next few months, with an occasional direct to Sydney. John worked on and off for Camerons for the next two and a half years, working from both Doncaster and Bayswater Depots. When the Company was split up he went to work for Sellwood Interstate Transport with Frank Sellwood and Frank D'Agostino.

Near Bookham, photograph taken about 1970. S-model, GM 6V71, 12 speed Spicer.

Conroy's Gap, near Yass, taken about 1970. GM 8V71, 15 speed Fuller Road ranger.
John acquired a taste for Kenworths and bought a tired old Kenworth (1964 K100, V671 GM, 12 speed Spicer), pictured below. After working around a few slow-paying jobs, then rolling the truck over at 4.30 one morning just north of Narrabri, then having the truck off the road for 16 weeks, money was tight so John rang Frank Davidson at Vaughans. Vaughans paid well and COD, which kept the wheels turning, until a financial low point was reached which was only resolved by selling the truck, walking way from the mess and going back to sea, to the Bass Strait oil field tugs.

The Kenworth at Beveridge.

Taken at Coonabarabran. John looked like he was King of the Road, but financially this Kenworth was a disaster. For his next truck, he went European, and got a 1418 LPS Benz.

Friday, January 1, 2010

West Gate Bridge, under construction

In the last post we looked at the Williamstown Ferry, which was made redundant with the opening of the West Gate Bridge. The bridge was started in April 1968. The span between piers 10 & 11 collapsed, with the loss of 35 lives, on October 15, 1970. It was finally opened on November 15, 1978. The bridge made an enormous difference to traffic flow around Melbourne and even though John complains about the West Gate Bridge traffic as he makes his way across and back three times a day from One Steel in Dandenong to the One Steel (formally Smorgon's) Mill in Laverton, it is surely still better than having to queue for the Ferry.

These photographs were taken between October 1972 and April 1973, when John was on the McIlwraith McEachern tug, the Elton Griffin, pictured above. John had gone to sea when he was 15 and occasionally took a break from truck driving and went back to sea.

Looking west towards Spotswood.

Looking west towards Yarraville.

The Howard Smith tug, The Melbourne. The Melbourne had been hit in the stern and sunk in the Bay, in this photograph it had been raised and is being supprted by the salvage tender. There is a good view of the West Gate Bridge in the back ground.

The Empress of Australia, the replacement for the Princess of Tasmania, at the Tasmania Ferry Terminal. Another good view of the West Gate Bridge is behind her.

Looking south to Port Melbourne. The Roy A. Cameron, was a Melbourne Harbour Trust hopper, whose job was to take the mud from the bucket dredge and deposit it at the Spoil Ground in the Bay.

'Short Road' Ferry to Williamstown

When John was driving for Fleetways in the mid 1960s, ‘Tommy the Copper’, was one of the last policemen on point duty in Melbourne. He controlled the intersection of the Spencer Street Bridge, Normanby Road, Yarra Bank Road and Clarendon Street, just outside One South Wharf, where Jeff’s shed is now. Trucks wanting to make the right hand turn into Normanby Road had to travel on the left hand side of the Bridge into a large holding area at the entrance to Yarra Bank Road where they waited until Tommy decided there were enough of them, then he would stop the traffic and let the trucks make their right hand turn. Lots of trucks used Normanby Road as it was route to Lorimer Street and South Wharf, and to General Motors, who were on the corner of Lorimer and Salmon Street. Further down Lorimer Street were the two Aircraft factories - the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) at Fisherman’s Bend. There was also all of the traffic which went down Normanby Road to Williamstown Road to the Tasmanian Ferry Terminal, and to the 'Short Road' Ferry. Traffic to the Port Melbourne wharfs i.e Station Pier and Princes Pier, and the BP Depot, turned off Williamston Road at Beacon Road.

If you didn’t line up in the queue to make the right hand turn, or disobeyed Tommy’s instructions, he would wave you off to the side of the road and book you, leaving the intersection unmanned and it would descend into chaos. Those were the days when Police had real power. Tommy also attended, at the invitation of Sir John Williams, the Fleetways Christmas drinks at Bertie Street in Port Melbourne. Incidentally, the area where the trucks used to line-up was outside the Diamond T importers/assemblers on the corner of Yarra Bank Road and Clarendon Street, so that provided some interest while John was waiting.

The 'Short Road' or Williamstown Ferry, taken in 1965. The Ferry is leaving Williamstown. This particular ferry commenced service in 1930. Photographs taken by Frank & Wendy Rouse.

It was called the 'Short Road' Ferry, because it was the 'short road' to Williamstown. The 'long road' was down Dynon Road to Whitehall Street and Douglas Parade. It’s hard to believe now, as Williamstown is very gentrified and trendy, that Williamstown was once a real working port and industrial area. There was the Newport Power Station, the Newport Railway workshops, the Naval Dock yards, the Port Phillip Woollen mills, the Harbour tugs at the Reid Street Pier, the Melbourne Harbour Trust dredges (which dredged the Melbourne Port area) at Ann Street pier, and the Ports & Harbours bay dredges, which dredged the South and West Channels in Port Phillip Bay. Dredging of the Bay has been going on since the 1870s, so you have to wonder why there was so much kerfuffle over the recent (2008-09) Channel dredging by the Queen of the Netherlands. Obviously, some people have no idea of our history.

The Williamstown Ferry went from the end of Williamstown Road and crossed the Yarra to the bottom of The Strand, near the Power Station. This location had been the site of a river crossing since Melbourne was established, but the first formalised ferry service didn't start until 1873. The 1873 scale of fees was - Foot passenger, one pence ; Vehicle with one horse or animal, six pence ; with two horses or animals, nine pence ; with three animals, one shilling ; Vehicles with four wheels, 2 shillings. The Ferry became redundant with the opening of the West Gate Bridge in November 15, 1978. I have some pictures of the West Gate Bridge in the next blog post.