Vale Mick Redfern, Australia's first SAR owner

By: Greg Bush

The man who purchased Australia's first Kenworth SAR in the 1970s passed away on March 7.

by Greg Bush

The Australian trucking industry lost one of its unique characters on March 7 when Mick Redfern passed away in Brisbane, aged 64.

In what was an important moment in Australia’s trucking history, Mick is credited with purchasing the first W900SAR in 1975.

Mick’s first experience behind the wheel began at age 15 and by 1961 was driving interstate.

According to his son Tom Redfern, Mick was always an owner-driver, starting out with an old Bedford. He later bought a Dodge, had a brief stint with a Ford and then bought a CKD (completely knocked down) Kenworth before purchasing the brand new SAR.

Mick grew up in Forbes, later moving to Coonabarabran, carting cotton and grain to Sydney. He moved to where the work took him, relocating to Sydney, then out to Gunnedah, before travelling north to the Central Queensland town of Moura. He settled in Brisbane in 1988.

"He never ever worked for anyone," Tom says. "He just carted direct off the farm into the local silos."

Mick spent many years carting cotton for Gerald McGuiness out of Narrabri on runs to Moree and back. All the while his W900SAR kept rolling along. He never bought another truck, driving the Kenworth throughout his driving career.

"The end fell out of the crankshaft at around 300,000 to 400,000 kilometres and he had a new motor put in," Tom recalls. "It’s had three rebuilds on it since then."

"The SAR is still sitting in the shed here," Tom says. "He drove it all the way to the end."

Mick fell ill in the early months of 2008 with a form of leukaemia but continued to drive until May that year.

As well as Tom, Mick is survived by his wife Muriel, daughter Michele and stepson Mark. Mick Redfern’s funeral was held at 10am on Friday, March 13 at Newhaven Funerals, Staplyton in Queensland.

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