MACBETH, Laurie

Laurie MacBeth Safari Tours

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005

Laurie MacBeth has contributed to the transport industry from both freight and passenger perspectives. He carried in an era of small-powered trucks carrying big loads over adverse conditions.

Laurie started his driving career in petrol and kerosene powered Fordson and Massey Harris tractors before graduating to an ex-army Chevrolet Blitz wagon semi-trailer carting mail and wheat. When he moved to Sydney in 1953, Laurie got a job driving mobile cranes for York & Son at Brighton Le Sands in an ex-army square-nose Bedford and a Chevrolet Blitz removing tramlines around Sydney. 

In 1954 Laurie moved to the Camden district and drove Bedford and Ford trucks carting coal for both Fox and Clintons. He also drove a left-hand drive NR Mack and dog and later an HQ Mack before venturing into interstate transport driving for Bond Bros, Gapes Transport and finally for  Cousins Transport at Blakehurst.

In 1960 Laurie decided to take a turn in his career and started with Redline Coaches; the transition period was not easy; dealing with people instead of bags of potatoes, onions, pumpkins, bales of wool and bags of wheat. The positive was that the ‘freight’ walked on and off the vehicle instead of Laurie having to spend hours of back-breaking work loading and unloading by hand. Over the years he drove all sorts of vehicles including Commers, Leylands and Albions. His boss, Rex Law, gave Laurie the opportunity to take safari tours into parts of Australia where no other operator had been. From 1971 to 1996 Laurie did tours for Carah, Leslie & Newcombe Coachlines. By now, his exploits and expertise as a tour operator were legendary. In 1997 he drove a Denning Coach and safari trailer (hired from Port Macquarie Bus Co.), and carried out safari tours throughout Australia right up until King Bros. took over the company in 2001.  Laurie is semi-retired today.