Mavis Jarred enjoyed a truck driving career that spanned five decades – and now the trailblazing former truckie and Hall of Fame inductee celebrates her 100th birthday.
Born in 1922, Jarred began driving trucks at the age of was 19, driving International and carting open wheat bags to Miram in Victoria. She was arguably one of Australia’s first female articulated truck drivers.
Based in Victoria, she has lived in the same house in Nhill, Victoria, for over 70 years. She only retired from truck driving in 1993 at the age of 71.
Jarred and her first husband Ivan Rethus ran a transport company for over 20 years, where she was involved in all parts of the business. She would travel through the outback roads of NSW, Queensland, South Australia and throughout Victoria.
After Rethus passed away in 1970, she continued to run the business until late 1971, when she put an end to the sheep transport operation so she could concentrate on light truck cartage, trailer manufacturing and general engineering.
Jarred has had various trucks including a 1946 Ford, a l952 International, a red Leyland Beaver and a grey Leyland Beaver – the latter of which was her favourite.
In celebration of her 100th birthday, Jarred spoke with ABC Radio reporter Andrew Kelso. “On the trucks, all the young lads called me mum and they treated me like a mother. I fed them along the road. That’s the most I’ve ever enjoyed my life, was when I was driving the old Leyland. I didn’t think I was better than anybody else but I just loved the life – and I cried for a week when I sold it,” she recalled.
“I do a lot of praying. I used to pray my way through a lot of the bog holes and things like that, because there’s wasn’t a lot of bitumen, even through the streets here. It was all dirt roads and if I’d come to a place I didn’t think I’d get through, I’d pray through – I’m sure that’s what’s helped me with my life.”
For her fantastic contribution to the industry, Jarred inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame in 2010.
On turning triple digits, she told the ABC, “I didn’t really think I’d reach 100 because I’ve had so much sickness in the last two years that I haven’t been able to walk with blood clots and things like that; but I sit in the chair and I can see everything that goes in the street,” she said.
“I don’t think anybody’s had a more interesting life than what I’ve had.”
Listen to the ABC interview here.