Phyl’s transport commitment
This year will be the second time Hay’s Phyl Jones has attended the Deniliquin & District Wall of Fame dinner in Deniliquin, but she will have a far more prominent role that the first occasion.
Mrs Jones has been invited to be a guest speaker for the renowned event.
She is expected to share stories of her life in the transport industry, which started when she and her late husband Neville started their trucking business — NJ and NP Jones — in the late 1960s.
The business is still managed by the family today, with their son Wayne in charge and other family members ‘‘only a phone call away and all involved at one point or another’’.
For her commitment to the road transport industry, Mrs Jones received the Order of Australia Medal on Australia Day this year.
‘‘For the eight years before I was married I worked with Stock & Station Agents, which is now Elders Rural, so I did have some contact with the transport industry even then,’’ Mrs Jones said.
‘‘Neville and his father were in the transport industry together.
‘‘We had out first child in 1969 and over the first 12 months of our daughter’s life, Neville would have only spent about a month at home with her.
‘‘I still had contact with a lot of the agents, and so we started our own company in October 1969.
‘‘Wayne, our second son, has been running the business as well as a business of his own. Our daughter-in-law is also now training to take on all the administration side.’’
From the day the Jones’ started their business, Mrs Jones was an active member of the team. There were few aspects of the business she was not involved in.
‘‘I had always done administration, but I also drove for 11 years, from the 1970s, I would help local gravel and sand and I would just generally help out,’’ she said.
‘‘I would mainly drive the fuel tankers, to and from Melbourne in a day.
‘‘Contrary to belief about women truck drivers, I only have the highest regard for truck drivers. They always showed me respect.
‘‘The general public did stare a bit, but I was generally accepted as a driver.
‘‘No-one really takes notice today and I know quite a few women who drive.’’
Mrs Jones’ involvement in the industry spanned further than just the family business.
She is a member of Transport Women Australia, NatRoad and Livestock and Rural Carriers Association Victoria, and a former member of the Australian Road Train Association.
She is a member of Bulk Carriers section of Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association NSW, serving as treasurer for 14 years.
In 2001 Mrs Jones took out the Australian Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award and two years later the NatRoad Quiet Achiever Award.
She was inducted into the Australian Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2004, is a life member of Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association, and inductee of the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Hidden Treasures Roll.
Her community involvement in Hay includes the former Hay Neighbourhood Watch and Safety House organisations as secretary/treasurer, Justice of the Peace since 1996 and custodian and Pilot Wing Member of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
In 2000 she received the Rotary Club of Hay Business Woman of the Year Award.