Ken Keating clocks up 65 years in transport

By: Tamara Whitsed, Photography by: Tamara Whitsed


Age proves no boundary for Ken Keating who, at 80, still loves working with his sons and grandchildren at Keating Freight Lines, Shepparton.

Ken Keating clocks up 65 years in transport
Steve, Mark, Chris and Ken Keating with their restored International R200 at Keating Freight Lines near Shepparton.

 

Ken Keating has chalked up 65 years in the transport industry and continues to work at Keating Freight Lines long after most of his friends have retired.

Through until his late 70s, Ken started each workday at 5.30am, loading trucks and delivering local freight. Even now the 80-year-old works part-time in the office of Keating Freight Lines at Lemnos near Shepparton, Victoria.

Ken founded Keating Freight Lines in 1982. Today all three of his sons work there. Chris is General Manager; Stephen is Operations Manager; and Mark recently stepped into Ken’s role which includes driving and overseeing local drivers.

Several of Ken’s grandchildren also work at the family business which runs 21 trucks.

Sixteen rigid Isuzus distribute freight locally. The company also has 15 prime movers, including 13 Scanias. These take refrigerated and general freight to Melbourne and Shepparton daily and deliver to many Victorian towns and cities.

Back in 1982 Ken made a conscious decision to specialise in Victorian freight. "I’d done interstate and I didn’t want the boys to be involved in interstate," he says.

Ken loves Scanias and says he has bought 95 of them since 1972. He is proud of his modern fleet, but he has kept a few older trucks for sentimental reasons.

His son, Mark, restored Ken’s old 1966 International R200 just in time for Ken’s 80th birthday last year.

Soon after, Ken travelled to Alice Springs to be inducted to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. He shared the honour with his father William Keating who was inducted posthumously. William was a furniture removalist and bought the family’s first truck back in 1927.

Ken’s brothers Brian Keating and the late Ray Keating had already been inducted to the Hall of Fame. Brian operates a separate business, Keating’s Transport, from Bendigo, Victoria.

You can read about Ken’s long trucking history in the April 2017 issue of Owner//Driver.

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