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Truck in­dus­try pays tribute to Ed Cameron

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ED CAMERON re­tired from the truck­ing in­dus­try in 1970, but his on­go­ing gen­er­ous sup­port for the in­dus­try, and his role in im­port­ing and pro­mot­ing Ken­worth trucks, will long be re­mem­bered. The 93-year-old passed away in Queens­land on July 16.

Over 400 peo­ple at­tended his funeral at Don­caster Church of Christ in Mel­bourne’s east on July 22.

While his great­est legacy is un­doubt­edly bring­ing the Ken­worth brand to Aus­tralia, Ed is also re­mem­bered for op­er­at­ing in­ter­state trans­port com­pany, D& E Cameron Trans­port, from 1946 to 1970.

The busi­ness be­gan af­ter World War II, when Ed and his brother Don bought their fa­ther’s Dodge to cart pro­duce from Don­caster or­chards to the Mel­bourne mar­ket.

Their brother Les joined D& E Cameron soon af­ter. By the end of 1946, they were reg­u­larly cart­ing pro­duce up the Hume High­way to Syd­ney.

For the next eight years, state gov­ern­ments used per­mits and taxes to re­strict truck transportation in a bid to di­rect freight to rail, even though the post-war rail sys­tem quickly proved in­ad­e­quate.

Ed was a founder, vice pres­i­dent and later pres­i­dent of the Vic­to­rian Road Trans­port De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (VRTDA), which was among sev­eral in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions sup­port­ing Hughes & Vale’s suc­cess­ful ap­peal to the Privy Coun­cil that brought an end to taxes on in­ter­state freight in 1954.

De­spite the chal­lenges, the 1950s was a pe­riod of sig­nif­i­cant growth for D& E Cameron. The brothers’ fleet com­prised mostly Al­bions and AECs, but Ed con­sid­ered Bri­tish and Euro­pean trucks un­suit­able for the Hume High­way’s steep climbs and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing road sur­faces.


One of his driv­ers, Jack Bate­man, hol­i­dayed over­seas and wrote to Ed prais­ing North Amer­i­can trucks.

In 1955, Ed and his brothers trav­elled to the United States to see for them­selves. Ed re­turned to the US in 1959 with mem­bers of the VRTDA.

Later that year, changes in Aus­tralian leg­is­la­tion made it eas­ier to im­port trucks from the US, and Ken­worth rep­re­sen­ta­tives ac­cepted Ed’s in­vi­ta­tion to visit Aus­tralia. He drove them up the Hume High­way.

Ed re­calls the jour­ney on the nar­row

high­way with its steep climbs and poor

road sur­face in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, First Cus­tom Built Trucks for Aus­tralia: The Ken­worth and Ed Cameron Story.

The men dis­cussed Aus­tralian reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing axle weights, the need to con­trol en­gine tem­per­a­tures to avoid cracked en­gine heads, and Ed’s de­sire for a low tare weight to max­imise pay­load.

By the time they reached Syd­ney, the Ken­worth rep­re­sen­ta­tives were con­fi­dent the truck Ed needed was a re-en­gi­neered S900 with a Detroit Diesel mo­tor, 12-speed Spicer trans­mis­sion and tor­sion sus­pen­sion.

Hence the claim that the seven fully-as­sem­bled S Model Ken­worths im­ported to Aus­tralia in 1962 were the first trucks de­signed and built for Aus­tralian con­di­tions.

Ed Cameron will be his hu­mil­ity, re­mem­bere d for gen­eros­ity Ken­worth trucks and for bring­ing to Aus­tralia

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