Trailer Magazine

Vale Ernie Barker

  • Posted on Monday 2nd, December 2019.

Victorian trailer builder, Barker Trailers, is mourning the loss of co-founder, Ernie Barker.

Ernie Barker’s life and achievements impacted so many, said Barker Trailers CEO, Simon Meadows, and thoughts are with family, friends, and the wide breadth of people whom Ernie had a great influence over the years.

Ernie passed away peacefully at RM Begg in Kyneton, comforted by Carol and family last week.

The Barker Family, Barker Trailers, and the wider Macedon Ranges, Maryborough, and Freight Industry Communities are reflecting with fond memories.

Born in 1945, Ernie grew up in Woodend – Hesket, and at the age of 17 commenced an apprenticeship as Fitter & Turner with Loadmaster Trailers in Woodend. It wasn’t long before Ernie knew everything there was to know about axles.

It is now folklore, the journey that brothers Ernie Barker & Arthur Barker (dec. 2006) went on in 1974 – as founders of Barker Trailers, with the support of family shareholders.

Since their dream in the early 1970s, Ernie and Arthur’s business has become an award winning industry icon – spanning 45 years, three generations, 11,000 semi-trailers, and has employed over 1,200 employees across its Woodend & Maryborough sites.

From the days digging spuds when business was quiet, to the opening of the Woodend office by Prime Minister John Howard, Ernie was always humble – “I’ve got a little interest in a trailer company out the road” (Ernie Barker).

The 'little business' has been recognised along the way as a Winner at the State Government Hall of Fame Awards, Australian Freight Industry Awards, and Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Awards among other accolades.

When celebrating the 10,000th Barker Trailer with the Barker Team, family, and the Premier of Victoria last year, Ernie said “It was a very hard beginning, but we are very proud of what we have done”.

Ernie was also heavily involved in the community, especially the Woodend-Hesket Football Club, where he played a role in the construction of the social rooms, along with support of the Bowling Club, Lions Club and Art Shows.

Impacted by an aneurism, Ernie and family received support from Castlemaine Re-Habilitation, Men’s Sheds Gisborne, the Oaks, and Ray M Begg. Supported by Carol and family, Ernie always maintained his keen interest in the Barker Trailers business and his community.

Ernie Barker’s legacy, said Meadows, will be honoured and remembered for generations to come.

(Image: Ernie barker, aged 74 years, 25.1.1945 - 26.11.2019.)

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