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Truck industry pays tribute to Ed Cameron
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