When the Rhodes Ridley was commissioned in 1958, she was the largest truck in the southern hemisphere. She was built in Welshpool by earthmoving company DFD Rhodes Pty Ltd from designs sketched on Masonite sheets by workshop manager Harold Ridley, who had no formal qualifications.
She was intended to haul ore in the fledgling Pilbara manganese industry, but changes in road regulations meant she served most of her working life parked at the Woodie Woodie mine providing power from an onboard gen-set. When the mine closed, she was abandoned for many years, then retrieved by local enthusiasts, and eventually restored by DFD Rhodes.
The basis of the Rhodes Ridley Project was the Rhodes Ridley Rally on Australia Day 2018, which was a gathering of people who had long been associated with the truck. Buoyed by the enthusiasm for the truck’s history and the strong bonds between the former DFD Rhodes families, Terry Joyce began an odyssey to produce a book to celebrate 60 years since the commissioning of the Rhodes Ridley.
The story of The Rhodes Ridley - By Terry Joyce
The book, Let’s Build Our Own, is 148 full-colour pages, and is a combination of narrative, excerpts from interviews, and historic and modern photos. It was launched by DFD Rhodes on March 9, and can be purchased through the Shopping Cart on this website, and at stockists around WA.
This website also hosts the audio Rhodes Ridley Voices: stories from the men who built, drove and loved the truck. This 40-minute audio is a compilation of stories which were gathered during the collection of the oral histories. The stories follow the chronology of the truck, and are the voices behind Let’s Build Our Own.