Di­a­mond T cham­pion passes away

The late Don Op­per­man spent 50 years in the trans­port in­dus­try

Owner Driver - - The Goods | News From The Highway And Beyond - – Ta­mara Whitsed

RE­TIRED TRUCK DRIVER and fleet op­er­a­tor Don Op­per­man of Kil­more is be­ing re­mem­bered as one of the in­dus­try’s most-re­spected iden­ti­ties fol­low­ing his death on April 30, 2018. He was 88.

Don­ald Henry Op­per­man was born in Whit­tle­sea, Vic­to­ria, in 1930. He be­gan his truck­ing ca­reer in 1948 when he pur­chased a KS5 In­ter­na­tional tray truck to cart pal­ings and logs. From 1952 Op­per­man’s Trans­port ran in­ter­state, ini­tially with a 190 In­ter­na­tional and White WC22. In 1956 he was among the many truck driv­ers stranded on the Hume High­way when rain caused the road to fail near Tar­cutta.

Op­per­man is best re­mem­bered for his fa­mous fleet of head-turn­ing Di­a­mond Ts which ran in­ter­state to Syd­ney, Ade­laide and Bris­bane in the 1950s and 1960s. He also owned In­ter­na­tional R190s and Ford F600s. At his peak, Op­per­man had 16 trucks on in­ter­state.

He sold his trucks in 1970 and re­turned to owner-driv­ing in 1973 when he bought an In­ter­na­tional tip­per to work for Readymix. In the 1980s he be­gan cart­ing sand for trot­ting tracks.

Op­per­man re­tired in 1998 af­ter 50 years in the in­dus­try. In his re­tire­ment he re­stored a Di­a­mond T which was painted in Op­per­man’s Trans­port liv­ery. He val­ued en­dur­ing friend­ships with for­mer em­ploy­ees and oth­ers he met dur­ing his truck­ing ca­reer.

In 2005 he was in­ducted to the Shell Rim­ula Na­tional Road Trans­port Hall of Fame at Alice Springs.

On its web­site, the Hall of Fame de­scribes Op­per­man as “one of this in­dus­try’s most well-known and re­spected men on the high­ways”.

He was pre­de­ceased by his wife Judy in 2010 and is sur­vived by three chil­dren (Michael, Lawrence and Kerry), nine grand­chil­dren and seven great-grand­chil­dren. Op­per­man was buried at Yan Yean Ceme­tery, Whit­tle­sea, on Mon­day May 7 af­ter a funeral at the ceme­tery chapel. Friends from his truck­ing years were among the mourn­ers.

ABOVE L TO R: The late Don Op­per­man; Don Op­per­man with his son Michael Op­per­man and his re­stored Di­a­mond T; A Di­a­mond T from Don Op­per­man’s fleet

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.