Going Back to the Good Old Days

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If you are thinking that going back to the old days is a good idea, just watch this great video from 1957. This is an ABC TV show from 1957 which has re-emerged as part of the ABC News RetroFocus series on its Facebook page.

Here we a truck driver somewhere in the out back. The truck appears to be a Foden, single drive and with, probably, almost 200hp of throbbing power under the bonnet. The truck is pulling two livestock trailers through the bush, but there is little explanation of where the truck is and where it is travelling. 

Since publishing this article Diesel News was contacted by Brian Hardisty, who tells us,

“Being an oldie and remembering trucks that were on the road in 1957, I think that the truck in the film is an AEC Mandator.
The AEC Mandator truck book by Graham Edge would tend to indicate that this was a “Tin Front” Mk.III  Export Model produced between 1955 and 1960 and was fitted with a 6 cylinder AEC “690” diesel engine of  690 cubic inch (11.3 litres) and produced all of 150HP and 505 lb ft of torque.”

Thanks for your help Brian

In fact, we don’t even find out the driver’s name. However, we do know he wears gloves while driving. The reason for the gloves is not explained, it doesn’t appear to be cold weather, perhaps it improves his driving style.

For someone working with livestock out in the bush our driver does appear to be pretty well groomed, well dressed and clean. This may be explained by the presence of the film crew.

It is surprising to look back to a time, within the lifetime of quite a few of the drivers still driving on our roads, to a time when the truck driving experience was so different. 

The trailers are painted up as being owned by Tancred Brothers from Bourke, where the company had an abattoir, opened in 1938. Apparently the facility building was paid for from the winnings of a racehorse called ‘High Caste’. In the early days of the operation, mobs of cattle were walked from Queensland to the facility.

The Tancred operation expanded to open abattoirs elsewhere, including Tenterfield. The operation expanded further in the fifties with the emergence of the US export market for beef. 

By the 1980s Tancred were processing 450,000 head of livestock per year at a number of facilities, before becoming part of Australian Meat Holdings in 1986. The abattoir at Bourke ceased operating in 1997.

going back to the old days