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TOPIC: Blockade 1979 Razorback

Blockade 1979 Razorback 31 May 2010 14:18 #29607

  • prodrive
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Anyone got any photos / memories / stories of the blockades of 1979? I was only a young fella (still am) and I can only remember the front cover of Truckin Life with "BLOCKADE" slashed across the page... This is the only photo I have been able to find anywhere on the net. Anyone got any more? Some of you "older gentlemen" must have some memories eh??

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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 31 May 2010 16:59 #29608

  • kennymopar2
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i can remember the same era (or just before) there was a blockade near cronulla (to blockade kurnell oil refinery)we were asked to join in (which we did) from memory the pork chops were ordered by neville wran to drive the trucks away . . after a few trucks were removed the police refused . . .it also came close to another blockade here in newcastle when nick greiner was in "power". . but he organised bulldozers to remove trucks if it came to that . .
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 31 May 2010 18:11 #29609

  • Rob365
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Hi Prodrive,

I was only 9 y.o when this happened, yet remember seeing stories on tv about it. Archives of TV networks might have some record of it; and of course for a fee!

Another suggestion would be TWU or one of the other driver "groups" from back then.

Good Luck and hope some more pics show up.

Cheers

Rob
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 31 May 2010 21:32 #29610

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Found this bit. Ted "Greendog" Stevens shows up on a google search....!

www.smh.com.au/national/truckies-set-up-...e-20091231-ll09.html
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 01 Jun 2010 07:01 #29611

  • HeyCharger
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and this;
books.google.com.au/books?id=_w5GOyy8L4g...uried%20what&f=false

"on Razorback Mountain, south of Sydney, is close to What's heart. His father, Spencer Watling, was one of the truckies who organised the blockade. For What, burying a truck seemed apposite in a number of ways. It captured something about the ambivalence of the truckies' gains and the fickleness of public memory. "

1967 W model Kenworth. The sad thing about this "monument" is the fact that there is no signs to show what is buried here. I just remember the newspaper article.
Proud owner of;
1948 Massey Harris 44K.
1946 Ford Semi-Trailer Bus.
1979 Toyota DA115 truck
Last Edit: 01 Jun 2010 07:10 by HeyCharger.
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 01 Jun 2010 09:35 #29612

  • prodrive
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Yes it is sad isn't it. The issues, the difficulties, the hardships, haven't changed a bit. The problems that faced the blokes back then are still the same now, only re-hashed in a new set of rules and regulations. Matter of fact you probably had more respect then if you were a truckie than you do now. Crazy world... where are we heading eh? I know nothing about Ted Stevens or his cohorts, but you have to give the guys credit- they stood up, and put their arses on the line for what they believed in. Not many people can say that today... (me included I guess.) And those that DO still don't get much support do they, ie Rod Hannifey etc.
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 12 Jun 2010 13:30 #29613

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Ted Stevens and the truckies who instigated the blockade had a very big effect on the Govt of the day.

In the following link, below, is a "Long Distance Road Haulage Industry" report, commissioned by the Minister for Transport in the Federal Govt, and produced by the Bureau of Transport Economics. This report was initially produced in July 1979 and reprinted in March 1980.

The report is essentially a major dissection of the trucking industry of the day, and what the problems were, that the average truck driver faced .. and what the Govt needed to do, to improve the overall situation, and address the major trucking grievances, that obviously caused a great deal of alarm amongst pollies, when the blockade was in full swing.

The report is 114 pages, it's pretty accurate, and it covers virtually everything that the average truckie was up against.
A subtle underlying impression, is that the Govt of the day was still in favour of rail .. with the report claiming that it could compete favorably with trucks .. which we all know, just isn't true.
The recent near-bankruptcy of the Adelaide-Darwin rail link crowd, Freightlink .. and the sale of the Tarcoola-Darwin rail line lease, along with all the rolling stock .. to the Genessee-Wyoming company, for just $334M (about 1/2 of what it all cost) .. just goes to show that even on this line, the economics of rail are still poor.

I knew that a big increase in inflation .. under the useless Whitlam Govt., around 1975 .. which led to a big increase in wages and costs .. was a big factor in truckies running at a loss, in the late 1970's.
However, I was surprised to find, that the 40% investment allowance .. introduced under the Fraser Govt .. led to a sharp increase in new truck sales in 1977 and 1978 .. and this led to a corresponding decline in used truck values .. which made it harder for struggling truckies to sell their well-worn trucks.

The bottom line was, that prices being paid in the late 1970's, were not being increased adequately to cover vastly increased costs .. and many truckies were virtually working for nothing.
The oil price shock, or energy crisis, of 1979 was the final straw, when fuel prices took off .. and the price of diesel went from around 10c a litre in early 1979 to 40 cents a litre, less than 18 months later.

It wasn't a happy period to be in business .. and I don't have very many fond memories of that period, just as an earthmoving contractor. A truckie would have had it worse. Then came the massive interest rate rises of the early 1980's, and that led to the global 1981-1983 recession, which affected nearly everyone.

www.btre.gov.au/publications/59/Files/R041.pdf
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 12 Jun 2010 14:45 #29614

  • bigcam
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It surprises me that thet can't make rail a far more economical alternative. With B double's grossing 60-65t, a double road train at about 85t, what can a train carry, it would have to be 100's of tonnes wouldn't it? What makes them inefficient? I would have thought they would have the same union rules etc.
Maybe they should do what the transport companies did ages ago and sell a couple of clapped out trains to some subbies and start making some money.
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 12 Jun 2010 16:57 #29615

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Hi Cam, try thousands of tons carried on a normal 60 to 70 truck goods train heading north.
It's not that the actual cartage is costly inefficient, think about ALL the extra AR$EHOLES who work in the offices, their the blood suckers.

What about what "Capitan Bligh" is proposing right now, wont be long and all the labour mates and hangers on will own a piece of it and then watch the money roll in.

Rant over, my apologies for touching on the political, sorry.

regards greenie [smiley=vrolijk_1.gif]
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Re: Blockade 1979 Razorback 12 Jun 2010 19:26 #29616

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Cam - Locos, rolling stock and rail lines are notoriously costly to maintain. It ties up dozens and dozens of maintenance people, just to keep the rolling stock running. Then, there are hundreds more required to check rail alignment, height, and all the safety angles such as broken rail clips and signalling equipment. Then there's dozens more required to keep the trains organised so they don't plow into each other. Then there's loadout facilities required at every station, and blokes galore in marshalling yards and doing shunting.

The employment requirement of rail are endless .. probably half the reason Govts support them. Then there's the inflexibility. "You want, what, where? Oh, we can't do that! Oversize? No sorry, can't do that either, we don't have enough clearance at crossings and overpasses. It just goes on and on.

The Americans can only just make rail barely profitable by running 5000-8000 tonne trains 20 times a day. We're lucky to get enough for one train a day. The iron ore crowds make their rail pay, by hauling 30,000 tonnes at a time, 2 or 3 times a day.

The simple fact is, that road trains are the most versatile, economic and flexible goods movement system around.
We are currently having a huge barney locally, over the local wheatbelt narrow-gauge lines. They haven't run at a profit in 100 years .. and never will.
The Govt wants to shut them down forever .. and the opposition is clamouring to keep them open, saying the roads will never handle the increased amount of road trains (carting wheat), if they do.

A mate reckons the answer is simple .. knock out the lines and put in a dedicated road train route, where the trains run now. The initial cost will be a few 10's of millions, but the savings will be enormous in the long run.
The lines are nearly flat, so the trucks will be able to haul more trailers .. the crossings and boom gates can stay, to allow the trucks to keep up speed .. and they can break down into singles, doubles, or triples, wherever deliveries are required. Dedicated minesite haul roads have been in place for over 25 years, and they haul up to 450 tonnes with one prime mover, one powered trailer, and one driver.
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