Evergreen truckies reunite at Altona

By: Tamara Whitsed, Photography by: Tamara Whitsed


Almost 600 people attended the Victorian Truckies' Reunion at Altona in March.

Evergreen truckies reunite at Altona
Victorian Truckies’ 2014 Hall of Fame inductees: (back) Chris Paten, Noel Penrose, Ian Anderson, Alan Johns, Ron Shegog, Col Ford (front) Graham Hellisen, John Wettenhall, Lionel Cox, Ted McNeil, Billy Powell and Malcolm Lister. (Ron Cooper was inducted posthumously. Absent Warren Noakes.)

 

The Victorian Truckies’ Reunion was held at a new venue this year – the Grandstar Reception Centre at Altona in Melbourne’s west.

But the same winning ingredients ensured the success of the dinner dance on March 29: a great three course meal; dancing to live music by Ian Castles and John Canada; and a strong attendance of truck drivers who shared anecdotes dating back to the 1940s.

Guests travelled from as far as Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland.

The reunion was organised by Bob and Julie Sealey whose children assisted on the night.

"I consider it a bit of a privilege to do it for these guys," Bob says. "Among these blokes are some of the best blokes I’ve met."

The evening reunited drivers who had met in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Some had been owner-drivers. Many had driven for companies including Wettenhalls Cartage Co, D & E Cameron, Opperman’s Transport, Eastoes, Ansett, Mayne Nickless and Brambles.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to 14 men who were inducted to the Victorian Truckies’ Hall of Fame: Alan Johns; Chris Paten; Ron Cooper (posthumous); Ted McNeil; John Wettenhall; Col Ford; Ron Shegog; Billy Powell; Ian Anderson; Noel Penrose; Malcolm Lister; Lionel Cox; Graham Hellisen; and Warren Noakes.

Lionel ‘Coxie’ Cox was understandably emotional when he accepted his Hall of Fame award. This was the fifth Victorian Truckies’ Reunion Coxie attended. But he is battling cancer and doubts he will be able to attend the next reunion in 2016.

"I saw blokes I hadn’t seen for 20 or 30 years," says Coxie who admires Bob Sealey’s "kind-hearted" attitude, and the effort he made to ensure the night ran smoothly.

"I just wish I was my old self because I would have danced most of the night away," 70-year-old Coxie says.

Read the full report in the May issue of Owner//Driver magazine.

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