Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2002.
For almost 50 years Eric Ballard provided a transport service that was the backbone of remote and rural central Queensland where he lived and worked.
Eric and his brothers had grown up to become drovers. At one stage they walked a mob of cattle from the Kimberleys in WA to Orange in NSW. Once Eric married he gave up the droving life and bought his first truck, a secondhand 1927 Chevrolet Four for just 30 shillings. He started work on a mail run between Longreach and Elroy carrying parcel freight and mail to remote sheep properties and cattle stations.
By the time WW11 arrived, Eric was operating a fleet of six trucks and, as the mail was regarded as a vital national service, he was contracted to keep up his mail runs. Most of his trucks, however, were commandeered to help construct the Blackall airstrip. At war’s end Eric bought a 6×6 Marmon-Harrington at the army disposal sales. Later, with brother Sid and mate Kevin Bowman, he decided to enter the livestock carrying business. With three new AEC Mammoth Major body trucks they formed Somerset Transport. He later started hauling coal out of the Callide Mine near Gladstone in a Mack EH. With the arrival of the more powerful B Model Macks, Eric decided he had enough to hook another trailer on. Regulation regarding lengths, weights and loading did not yet stretch to the outback.
Eric was the first operator in Australia to use dollies to hook up trailers. The Ballard roadtrains were a legend in the Queensland bush.
Whenever they arrived people would come from miles around to have a look. There is no doubt that Eric revolutionised outback transport in Queensland.