Razorback instigator Ted Stevens passes away

By: Greg Bush

Ted ‘Greendog’ Stevens, one of the initiators of the 1979 Razorback Blockade, passed away on Sunday, February 11.

Razorback instigator Ted Stevens passes away
Ted 'Greendog' Stevens passed away on February 11


Trucking industry identity Ted Stevens, better known as ‘Greendog’, passed away on February 11 aged 73 at his home in north-east Melbourne after a long battle with cancer.

Along with Colin Bird, Barry Grimson, Jack Hibbert and Spencer Watling, Ted was one of the five instigators of the Razorback Blockade in April 1979 which signalled an end to the crippling road tax.

Two commemorative plaques at Razorback are reminder of the industry-changing event.

A day after Ted’s passing, Spencer, along with his wife Gloria, drove the short distance from their home to Razorback Mountain to give their long-time friend a "send-off".

"We just had a beer and a pie with him," Spencer says.

Ted 'Greendog' Stevens and Spencer Watling attended the Putty Memorial in 2012.

Despite failing health, Greendog published the book Razorback – The Real Story in 2017 in a bid to set the record straight regarding the events surrounding the blockade.

Spencer, who helped with the sales and promotion of his mate's book, gave driving away in 2010 but still remains connected to the industry. However, despite the passion shown by Greendog and the others back in 1979, he believes road transport is now an "absolute disgrace".

"You’ve got about three or four different government bodies and they treat you like a criminal," he says.

"I know there’s a problem with some with drugs, but for the amount of trucks, it’s bugger all.

"They pull you up and they can see you’re alright, but they throw a dog up into your bed with all your gear, and you can’t say a word.

"The smallest fine, you’ve got $600. If you’re a driver on wages and you’re getting maybe $1500 a week and you’re working your guts out to get it and you’re paying a house off, you’ll say, ‘well, there’s my house payment gone’," Spencer says.

"And they [the authorities] just laugh about it."

Spencer hadn’t seen Greendog since the 2012 Putty Road Memorial Service, although the two had kept in constant contact.

"We’d talk to him every couple of days, and nearly every day when we were doing the book because we helped him promote the book," he says.

Spencer says Greendog went down fighting, battling the cancer right until the end.

"Right up until two weeks ago before sounded exactly the same.

"And to think that he went downhill so quick. It’s terrible."

"He battled cancer bravely and really suffered, but as Ted does, he fought on for as long as he could. Now he is pain free and at peace."

Greendog in his driving days.

Tributes to Ted 'Greendog' Stevens flooded social media sites immediately after his passing.

"I just can’t believe all the tributes, from people that you wouldn’t even think of," Spencer says.

"It’s all been so good. It brings you right down to earth, it does."

The Owner//Driver team offers its condolences to Ted Stevens’ wife Illeth and their extended family in this difficult time.

Copies of his book Razorback – The Real Story are still available for purchase. For details email wathaul@bigpond.com

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