NQ ICONS: Eileen and Arthur Battle started Norgate Transport in the 1940s.
NQ ICONS: Eileen and Arthur Battle started Norgate Transport in the 1940s.

Trucking icon 'reunited with wife in heaven'

THE North Queensland's trucking community is mourning the loss of an industry giant whose pioneering business decisions set him apart.

Arthur Battle, 98 was a trailblazer of the transport industry with a career shared with his late wife Eileen spanning more than 60 years.

Mr Battle's grandson Kent said his grandfather had been heartbroken and lonely since the passing of his wife in January.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary late last year.

"He genuinely thought he was going to see her and they would be reunited,” Kent told the Townsville Bulletin.

"He had liver cancer and when nana passed away he gave up, it was just loneliness.

"I really didn't want to say goodbye so we just talked about trucks and I told him I'd see him later but he almost looked better than he was a couple of weeks ago and just completely peaceful.”

Kent said he learnt invaluable business lessons from Mr Battle, who was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame alongside his wife in 2007.

"It's very easy to just exist in this industry but he always seemed to take risks and push the envelope,” he said.

"He got a B-double permit here in 1984 and had tri drive in the late 70s when no one was really doing that sort of stuff.

"They were both extremely savvy business people when they needed to be but also extremely generous on the other side and they achieved a lot in North Queensland.”

The couple began their transport business on the Atherton Tablelands with a horse and cart before buying a Maple Leaf truck in 1942 and managed to build their fleet despite the hardships of war.

Their company, Norgate Transport, later moved its headquarters to Townsville where today son Rodney helms its offshoot, Nortrans.

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