Vale Ken Archer, for­ever a Mack man

Owner Driver - - The Goods - – Steve Brooks

Ken Archer passed away on Oc­to­ber 10 af­ter a life­time of driv­ing trucks

THERE ARE FEW MEN WHO LOVED a chat more than Ken­neth Athol Archer, and even fewer who had more to talk about when it came to trucks, road trans­port and the life of an owner-driver.

A Mack man to the core, Ken passed away re­cently at the grand age of 90 and while his last years were in a Syd­ney sub­ur­ban nurs­ing home, he was still point­ing his beloved bull­dog down the road well past his 80th birth­day.

Like so many of his vin­tage, the early days weren’t par­tic­u­larly flash. In fact, his first truck was a four-tonne Austin for trav­el­ling around Syd­ney ply­ing his trade as a wash­ing ma­chine me­chanic. Later came a stint as a brew­ery truck owner-driver but by the mid-1950s he’d found his true call­ing, haul­ing gen­eral freight with a petrol-pow­ered Com­mer be­tween Syd­ney and Bris­bane for An­till Ranger.

How­ever, the call of the open road was prob­a­bly never louder or more sat­is­fy­ing for Ken Archer than the late 1960s as he be­came a reg­u­lar east-west run­ner for Mayne Nick­less, shar­ing the hard­ships of the early Nullar­bor with life­long mates like Don McGlinchie, Barry Sky, Brian Bar­rett, Merv Rich and step-brother Les Cur­tis.

His pas­sion for Mack was pro­found, with Don McGlinchie re­call­ing Ken’s time with a bo­gie-drive Mack F-se­ries cab-over pow­ered by a 300hp twin-turbo V8. A big banger in its day, the en­gine was one of only a few in the coun­try and while dura­bil­ity wasn’t a par­tic­u­larly strong point, Ken’s pas­sion for the bull­dog could not be swayed. As Don put it, “Over the years, Ken prob­a­bly sold more Macks than any Mack sales­man ever did.”

Those who knew him best smile at the mem­ory of a man of­ten re­ferred to as ‘the road fore­man’ and well known for hav­ing the last say.

He was, above all, a true icon of an era now long gone.

Ken is sur­vived by his wife Lau­rel, son Lau­rie and three grand­sons.

Ken Archer was in­ducted into the Shell Rim­ula Wall of Fame in 2009

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.