Lorene Whittam is a champion of the livestock-transport industry in South Australia, having helped run her family’s trucking company for nearly five decades.
Story By Tom Dawkins
Mac Whittam reckons the comic-book makers got it all wrong. He says Wonder Woman doesn’t wear a cheesy bodysuit or a golden tiara. His Wonder Woman is more recognisable for her Akubra, boots and trusty working dog. And he should know – he’s been married to her for nearly 50 years. No doubt the tough, truck-driving veteran is a little biased when it comes to describing his wife Lorene, but the glowing adulation is close to the mark.
Lorene is both champion and icon of the livestock-transport industry in South Australia and has helped manage her family’s trucking company for nearly five decades. Most importantly to Mac, however, is Lorene’s role as wife and mother to their four sons.
Lorene likely had some idea of what married life would hold for her when she wed Mac in December 1965. At that stage, Ashbourne-based Mac already had half a dozen Bedford trucks servicing the southern Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula. Lorene, from nearby Mount Compass, settled with Mac in a house on the outskirts of Strathalbyn on a block big enough to transform into a truck depot.
The longevity of their marriage has been matched by the couple’s successful working partnership, which has ensured their business has continued to grow and evolve over the decades. It’s now more than 30 years since Lorene first attended regional sheep and cattle markets on behalf of the company, booking loads of stock to be carted from the saleyards.
In the ensuing decades, Lorene has become the public face of Whittam Transport, as well as one of the most recognisable attendees at weekly and seasonal markets throughout South Australia. She has earned a reputation among the saleyards’ fraternity – stock agents, vendors, buyers and other transporters – as a friendly and highly respected professional. Another word, perhaps most significant in the blokey environment of the yards, is used universally when describing Lorene. She’s a “lady”.
This story excerpt is from Issue #88
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2013