Much loved veteran truckie Alfred (Tony) Betteridge is being remembered as a genuine great bloke with a larger than life personality and many stories to tell.
Betteridge passed away suddenly on May 23, at the age of just 52.
He had been in the industry for the past 30 years and was a long-term employee at Rockhampton-based dangerous goods haulage business Rocky’s Own Transport.
CEO and director of Rocky’s Own, Bryan Smith, described Betteridge as “one of the really good guys”.
“Tony was with us just under 15 years and was such a good bloke and a great operator. He was a very popular guy here and had made lots of friends in the place over the years. It’s been really a tough few weeks, it’s really gut-wrenching,” said Smith.
Betteridge had held numerous roles at Rocky’s Own including a yard supervisor, before getting back in the driver’s seat. “When we won a contract transporting ammonium nitrate, he started doing tipper work and did that for about 10 years,” Smith said, adding that he always looked forward to their chats.
“As an owner of business, you’ve always got someone knocking on your door every day, asking for five minutes of your time. But whenever Tony stuck his head around the corner, you always welcomed him in and knew you’d get a few laughs and some great stories.
“We’d call Rod Carige [Rocky’s Own national operations/fleet manager] in too and knew we’d be there for at least half an hour. Tony had such a good sense of humour.”
Earlier this year, Betteridge was given the keys to a special milestone truck for Rocky’s Own – the company’s 250th Kenworth, a specced-up K200. Inside, he decorated the truck with Ned Kelly paraphernalia and on the front bumper he had the word “Such is Life”.
Betteridge touched the lives of many he met along his travels.
Team Leader at Dyno Nobel in Moranbah, Stuart Phillips, was among those paying tribute. “Tony used to load ammonium nitrate out of here and I got to know him over the past 15 or so months,” Phillips said.
“Tony was a 30-year transport veteran who touched the lives of everyone he met, with his larger than life personality, infectious laugh and willingness to help anyone and everyone.
“You always knew it was Tony coming due to the brightness of the polished chrome! He took so much pride in his gear. He was only just recently given Rocky’s 250th Kenworth to drive, which was his pride and joy.”