Cream of the Otways

By: Tamara Whitsed, Photography by: Tamara Whitsed


Gordon Russell was on the road for over 50 years and spent 34 years carting milk in the Otway region.

Cream of the Otways
Restoration of his International R190 is keeping Gordon Russell busy in retirement.

 

Gordon Russell from Colac in Victoria’s Western District retired last year at the age of 69.

His five decades on the road included 34 years collecting milk from dairy farms in the Otway region for Colac Dairying Co.

He joined the team in the late 1960s and the company was renamed ‘Bonlac Foods’ while he was there. "It didn’t matter whether I went north, south, east or west. I had fun along the way with the farmers and everybody," Gordon says.

He travelled up to 400km a day. Many of those kilometres were on steep and winding unsealed roads. "It wasn’t easy work. It was on road, off road, in around dairies, rough roads and gravel roads. Rain, hail and shine, milk had to be shifted from the farm."

Gordon already had a high opinion of International trucks and his work with the dairy company proved how resilient they were.

Gordon’s driving skills and devotion to the International brand were so renowned that he was asked to demonstrate new International trucks at Trucks in Action at Warragul every two years from 1986 to 1996.

He stayed with the dairy company until 2001 when he was made redundant. He was carting water for Eldridge Water Sales when he retired last year.

In retirement Gordon is restoring an International R190. "We’re changing nothing," Gordon says. "All we’re doing is pulling it to pieces, cleaning it up, painting it and putting it back together again." The project was nearing completion when Owner// Driver visited him at Colac.

Gordon spoke to us about his early career carting peas, and his trips across the Nullarbor carting refrigerators with a 1970 Kenworth 125.

Read the full story in the October 2014 issue of Owner//Driver magazine.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook