Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 06:42
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In 1979, 3000 truck drivers staged blockages of major highways at nearly 40 locations in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia to protest against ton-mile taxes and low freight rates.Known as the Razorback Blockade, truck drivers involved claimed higher charges made them financially worse off. Their efforts were not in vain and ton-mile tax was abolished shortly after the protests.
Ted ''Greendog'' Stevens, became the face of a nine-day blockade by truckies around Australia demanding the abolition of road taxes. Stevens, Spencer Watling, Colin Bird, Harry Grimson and Jack Hibburt stopped their rigs at the Razorback, near Picton on the Hume Highway, on April 3, 1979. Thanks to CB radios, more than 2000 other owner-drivers joined their stand and blockades spread across Australia.

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The Sydney talkback radio host John Laws made Stevens a hero to his listeners. He was portrayed as the little bloke fighting bureaucracy for his place in the sun. The premier, Neville Wran, deemed him an anarchist and ''a little man lost in the size of his ego''. Stevens and cohort claimed they were unfairly paying up to $20,000 a year tax to repair damage their vehicles caused to roads across the country and their protest was sold as a small-business strike.
In reality, the blockade was a behind-the-scenes campaign by large trucking companies owned by men such as Lindsay Fox to pressure governments into exempting them from paying millions of dollars tax and making other road users pay. Four days after it started the blockade was starting to unravel across Australia except on the Razorback, but the dispute was soon over when transport ministers agreed to scrap the tax.

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At the time I was driving for John Flemming Hardware , Dobney Ave , Wagga Wagga and was in the Blockade at Kalkallo, Vic
And here's a clip I made up last year, Merv Lowery actually came to Kalkallo and entertained the Truckies one night .

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Reply By: Nickywoop - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 07:10

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 07:10
Thanks for another ripper Doug.

Remember the blockades very well.

Nick
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Reply By: mbw650 - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:27

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:27
Great story Doug, when you were researching this story did you come across any of the scandal about the original memorial. As a local there were a lot of rumors and half truths, but an " artist " was awarded a grant to design and build the memorial.
Apparently the winning proposal was to be an early Mack truck encased in concrete while retaining the shape of the original vehicle, but rumour has it that the " artist " disappeared after the design stage with the money for the construction due to " artistic differences " with the council.
In my opinion a Mack up on the ridge, would have been a much more fitting memorial.


Regards

Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:56

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:56
No Mark I didn't, but there is suppose to be a buried truck at the site...supposed to be.

.
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Reply By: Axle - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:31

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:31
Can Remember That Doug,.. I was in my early Twentys trying to earn a dollar with a old commer tipper,....Also remember that bloody road tax!!, A week before the blockade i can remember the wife pulling me up on the side of the road, telling me to get into the local police station to pay the tax or they where comming to get me, It was money we just didn't have.

Cheers Axle.
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Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:52

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 09:52
Doug,
the way the trucking industry is going this may happen again.
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Follow Up By: Therifleman - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 14:46

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 14:46
G,Day Doug,onyour map there is no mention of the blockade at Berowra,north of Hornsby.I can assure you there was one as I had the butcher shop at Mt.Colah.
We were doing BBQ orders for them & it certainly gave the business a kick along.In fact we had an order ready for them for which they paid in advance($500),a lot of money in those days.Then,all of a sudden it was over & ther I was with this thumping great order & no one came to pick it up.Well we had a truckie friend & it all went to his freezer.So it certainly was not wasted.
Regards,Mick.
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Reply By: Member - John G- Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 11:26

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 11:26
Thanks Doug

Great history lesson and very well put together.

Cheers
John
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Reply By: Kimba10 - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 12:29

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 12:29
Hi there Doug, as usual another great piece of history, good to read up on things like this and remember things from a while back........Cheers......
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Reply By: member - mazcan - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 13:15

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 13:15
hi doug t
great story and i was un-aware of it and see it didnt involve wa truckies
but i might add some of the present day drivers are still inadvertantly causing major blockages but not for tax based reasons when they roll one of their massive rigs over and the trailers and contents spue across the highway
so it seems they are still causing blockages but in an unplanned and non-deliberate way
all due respects to them and the fotos are a very big comparisan of the difference in the size of the rigs then and whats travelling on the roads today
cheers barry
AnswerID: 480080

Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 16:47

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 16:47
I think it was not long after the ton-mile road tax was dropped that they put a 5c per litre tax on diesel to make up for the shortfall in ton-mile taxes.
The government were on a winner because that meant anybody with a diesel ute or car was also, in effect, paying the new 'road tax' as well as the trucks.

cheers

Dave
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 20:21

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 20:21
I think it was about that time they increased the weight limit also if you payed for the permit sticker.
Cheers Dave.
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Reply By: Nomad Navara - Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 20:38

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012 at 20:38
Doug, myself and about twenty others were stopped from going north at Gundagi,(most of us were tanker drivers),when the blockade started.We were there for about 8 to 10 days from memory, and yes some time later there was a KW prime mover buried on Razorback to commemorate this event.Oh for the memories.
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