Lisa Lloyd has been somewhat of a trailblazer for women in the transport industry, making her move into trucking with little knowledge or expectations of what lay ahead.
Born and raised in a vineyard near Clare in the Clare Valley in South Australia, Lloyd used to ride on her father’s tractor before graduating to the controls before she’d even seen a day of school.
“It was something I was thrown into accidentally. Then I got to driving it before I could even get close to the pedals,” said Lloyd.
“I’d run up and down the vineyard with a trailer on and dad would be on the back chucking posts out, feeding sheep or something like that. He was devastated when I went to school!”
Lloyd says that diesel is something that’s just in your blood and true to form, after working for Woolworths and as a tourism guide up and down the Northern Territory, Lloyd eventually scored a job with EDI
“The saying goes in the Territory that if you want to have a go at something, if wait long enough something will come up,” said Lloyd.
“I ended up with Downer EDI Works as it was called back then as a water cart driver. I got a semi-licence at 23 back in the early 80s, but I really didn’t do anything with it. After I kept getting offers, I eventually accepted because there wasn’t much tourism work during the wet season.”
Lloyd was thrown into the deep in driving an R-Model Mac with no reverse gear to speak of.
“It took me three days to find reverse,” said Lloyd.
“But the road works crew took me under their wing and taught me everything right up to driving triple side tippers. After that, when the government contracts ran out, I potted around a bit until a got a phone call asking me to come to Western Australia.”
“Somebody knew somebody, who knew I could drive a triple and it went from there.”
That company was IES Resources in Kalgoorlie, where she started out driving quad side tippers, which Lloyd says suits her style.
“Automatics don’t do it nowadays in terms of what those trucks could do,” said Lloyd.
Whilst there is a lot more awareness and exposure nowadays for women in the transport industry, but is quick to point out that females haven’t been an overnight sensation.
“I’m a member of Women in Trucking Australia, and it’s great what Lyndal Denny is doing, but a lot of women were out there 20 years ago. It’s just that Lyndal was the first to expose it,” said Lloyd.
“I’ve had my fair share of ‘get into the kitchen and make me sandwich’ discussions and we had a lot of boundaries to cross. All you can do is do your best, show interest, show respect and you’ll gain respect.”
Those principles have set Lloyd in good stead, but admits she has been made to jump through a few hoops along the way.
“There was one guy who made me do a few stupid things just to see what I was made of,” said Lloyd.
“I was more scared of him than what he was asking me to do, but I stuck it out and he admitted that I had bigger balls than some of the blokes he’d worked with.”
Lloyd admits these hurdles have made her a much better driver and with that she says, should come some recognition from the younger generation of women coming through the ranks.
“Every time I start a new job, I have to prove myself,” she said.
“Having an automatic licence and doing a course is all well and good, but they really shouldn’t be taking away from the old girls that did it tough.”