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A brief history of the trucking universe

While trucks are a common sight across our labyrinth of highways across the country these days, it wasn’t always like this. Even 100 years ago our road infrastructure was completely different and the way we transported livestock, goods and cargo was markedly different from how it works today.

Australia’s trucking history starts around 1863, well before the invention of the modern internal combustion engine. Steam-powered road trains, carrying an incredible amount of heavy wood for fuel, were used at the Yudnamutana copper mines in South Australia to carry copper ore out to market. It was soon realised that the cost of fuel far outweighed the income from the copper, so was discontinued shortly after.

Enter the internal combustion engine

The invention of the internal combustion engine circa 1912 changed trucking forever. Gasoline engines made large-scale transport cost effective and within a few years, thousands of trucks littered the burgeoning Australian road network. This made the local state governments of the time uneasy, as they preferred to have an interstate rail network established for heavy transport and made efforts to forbid interstate road transport.

This state of affairs lasted until the advent of World War II, where the overworked rail network was overwhelmed by the increased manufacturing efforts of local industry and governments reluctantly turned to trucks for transport of fragile material between capital cities. By the time the War ended (and certainly by the time The Drake Group was formed) people were so used to seeing trucks on the road moving freight between states that further efforts to limit their usage met with strong resistance.

Trucks are here to stay

In the 1970s, diesel-powered engines continued to advance trucking as a competitive industry. Coupled with the advances in design and presentation options, trucks were beginning to be seen as a cultural statement, sporting decorative covers and stylised trims. CB Radio communities and a raft of popular trucking movies and television shows cemented trucking as a part of modern culture.

Today, Australia’s trucks are more important than ever. With a wide range of heavy haulage trailer options available, The Drake Group has seen the industry grow over its 60 years of operation and looks forward to seeing what the future brings. Contact The Drake Group today to see how we can help your trucks get the next big job done.

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