AEC's Blue Triangle symbol [ AEC Ltd] is reproduced by kind permission of The British Commercial Vehicle Museum Trust.
Tom McGrath was was an interstate owner-driver based in Newcastle, New South Wales for most of his driving career. Starting on an Opel Blitz after the Second World War. In the 1950s he had his first AEC, with wooden cab and a single axle trailer. Then in the early 1960s he bought a Mandator Mk V with a bogie trailer. He finished driving a Kenworth with a jumbo tank for Fluid Freight.
In the 1950s and 1960s Tom drove AECs. The accompanying photos have been supplied by Tom's son Kevin McGrath, a Salvation Army Officer who in childhood from 1954 to 1962 spent his holidays travelling around Australia with his father. The later photos were taken on a two-month trip in 1961 from Melbourne to the Kimberley's in Western Australia.
Sadly Tom passed away in December 1987.
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Mammoth Mk III (105k)
Tom's first A.E.C. with plywood-panel sleeper cab at Islington N.S.W. in about 1953, with son Kevin and daughter Jan. Monarchs (164k) In the 1950s Tom drove a Monarch Mk III around northern N.S.W. for McDonalds Interstate Transport. His vehicle is seen carrying another Monarch.
Mk III (125k) Tom's Mk III AEC with a load of bales of wool and a fine Albion bogged down in western New South Wales in the late 1950s. Mk III (125k) A close up of the A.E.C.
In those days an "Ajax" box with two primus stoves in it was used to cook meals. The photo was taken by the newspaperman.
Mandator (136k)
Tom's two daughters Judy and Jan beside the Mandator in Pelican Flats, near Newcastle. Mandator (94k) The Mandator with a Dodge & LAD-sleeper cab en route from ICI in Melbourne to Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia in 1961.
Mandator (104k) Tom's Mandator with son Kevin beside it. The driver of the second truck had broken the rear axle jumping over steel cattle grids. Both the other trucks had to take a few tons of his cargo to lighten the load! Mandator (114k) At the Northern Territory/South Australia border adjacent to the Woomera Rocket Range, with the boilermaker who had helped fix the broken axle.
Mandator (154k) The Mandator is behind the Mack road train driving back from the Kimberley's to Newcastle in 1961 after delivering a load of Ammonium Nitrate. That's Kevin near the Mack. Tom McGrath (169k) Tom McGrath at his home in Brisbane on his last birthday with a truck cake.
Many thanks to Kevin McGrath