Bedford TK spreader

In Rust in Peace, September 20222 MinutesBy Gavin MyersOctober 20, 2022

Regular readers will remember that we followed Aaron Tait deep into the Hakataramea Valley for our February 2022 cover feature on the Rural Transport DAF CF530. Heading out of Rural Transport’s home base of Kurow via Hakataramea Valley Road is a spectacular experience, with rolling hills and farmland hemmed in by snow-capped mountains.

This Bedford TK spreader is bound to catch your eye as you head away from civilisation into the south Canterbury hinterland, not far out of town at the south end of the valley.

Sitting beside the road in an idyllic farm setting, the Bedford is still in impressively good nick. A bit of surface rust colours the bin and chassis, but the cab could certainly be considered salvageable. Its Hampden Transport 1968 livery and fleet number are still proudly on display. John McCone, son of the Oamaru company’s founder, Donald, explains the TK came from Southland and was probably one of Titiroa’s, from what he remembers. “It would’ve been a stock truck. Dad took the deck off and put the Haman bin on it to convert it to a spreader. We only used it for about three years as we needed a four- wheel drive truck to handle the conditions down here.”

The Bedford was sold off in the late 1970s to a (different) farm in the Haka Valley and has spent its life in the area since.

“It had the Leyland 400 motor in it, which was a good old lugger back in the day. It had a real sloppy box, though,” recalls John. As it happens, it was also the truck in which John learnt to drive.