Two industry notables pass away


Two trucking industry identities have passed away in recent weeks − Nullabor refrigerated trucking pioneer Ross Edson and heavy vehicle-body constructor John Allen. <br /><br /> Edson is survived by his wife, Rae, a trailblazer in her own right as one of the first female owner-drivers, starting in the early 1970s.

By Rob McKay | February 27, 2012


Two trucking industry identities have passed away in recent weeks - Nullabor refrigerated trucking pioneer Ross Edson and heavy vehicle-body constructor John Allen.

Edson is survived by his wife, Rae, a trailblazer in her own right as one of the first female owner-drivers, starting in the early 1970s.

Both had close family connections to the trucking industry and were brought up in it.

Edson originally worked farms, but started up refrigerated distribution in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. This led to a significant refrigerated food business which also involved transport and storage for the burgeoning wine industry with a dozen local vehicles and their own cold stores.

After national contracts replaced regional food distributors, Ross and Rae took to long distance refrigerated transport, mainly for the Petersville Group and mainly across the Nullarbor. They later ran Adelaide-Brisbane with refrigerated and fresh produce.

In their semi-retirement years in the 1990s, they set up the distribution system for ATN sister publication Owner//Driver, which was a major part of it becoming the largest circulation truck publication in Australia.

Edson's funeral will be in Nuriootpa on March 28.

Meanwhile, the NSW MP for Hawkesbury Ray Williams has paid tribute to Allen, whose company, John E Allen Spares, sold trucks and provided mechanical expertise for trucks and trailers.

"As part of his business, he constructed a trailer to transport a satellite for the 2000 Sydney Olympics," Williams told State Parliament.

"No other person in the country had the expertise to build this particular trailer. He did it successfully."

Both men suffered physical adversity during their work.

Edson was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2004. His citation notes that he was struck by a forklift in late 1983 causing permanent damage to his legs.

Allen’s legs were crushed by a falling truck chassis.

"He walked with the aid of two walking sticks for the rest of his life, but that did not stop him from establishing this iconic business," Williams says.

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