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J.W & W Clinton Carrying Company became Clintons Transport Pty Ltd in 1935 when they purchased two model Ford trucks to support their other business, Clinton Mining in the Burragorang Valley.
By the 1950’s the two major haulage companies, Clintons Transport and S & M Fox Transport, who owned the mines at that time, found their fleets rapidly expanding. S & M Fox Transport had approximately 20 trucks and Clintons approximately 200 trucks, mostly K8 series Internationals.
These trucks were commonly referred to as the “Blue Trucks” because of the distinctive blue coloured cabin. They were single axle drive and single axle trailer configuration. The “Blue Truck” was highly recognizable Icon in the Camden and Wollondillly district for many years.
Incidentally, the Blue truck fleet was not alone, approximately 250 privately owned sub-contractor trucks mixed into the fleet, meaning that there were well onto the vicinity of 500 coal trucks on the road.
The trucks had to haul their load, 32 kms up to an elevation of 700 ft to reach the Wollondilly washery, commonly known as the top wash. The trucks were either a single or bogie drive, or single axle trailers. They were loaded with up to 14 tonnes, which was easily achieved by the 125 hp Albion Clydesdale’s, Leyland Comet’s and the British Perkins powered Commer’s.
The road in some places was so narrow that the loaded trucks had to drive on the wrong side of the road to keep up against the cliff face. The empty trucks were on the outside without any safety barriers.
Mechanical failures and accidents were common place. The workshop facility based in the main street of Narellan, cared for the maintenance and breakdown requirements of the fleet. A tow truck was readily available to pick-up broken-down vehicles. The workshop was continually repairing or fitting new engines, transmissions or drives to the trucks.
Road transport was the means of delivery for coal from the mines to Wollondilly Washery and the Glenlee Washery, where the coal would be washed and stored. It would be later delivered to Campbelltown railway and loaded onto trains to delivered to Balmain for export. It was also sent to Port Kembla for steel making. 10,000 tonnes per month were transported to Sydney and a further 500,000 tonnes were sent to Port Kembla each year. 113 million litres of fuel were consumed by their fleet each year, which enabled them to start a new company, Clinton Fuel Distributions. They signed supply contracts with Caltex Australia. The company became one of the largest fuel distributors in the country, mainly due to their own consumption.
In the Peak of late 1960’s, coal was in such a demand, Clinton and Fox acquired each other. Fox transport purchased Clintons transport and in return, Clinton purchased the Fox Mining owned mines. It was such a successful synergy, the town and districts flourished. At one point in time, the two Pioneers employed over 30,000 people, mostly local.
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PO BOX 1257, Potts Point, NSW, 1335, Australia
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