SUTHERLAND, Les

Les Sutherland 1950:  bought an Austin truck.

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2005.


Les Sutherland started his life-long involvement with transport in 1946 when, at the age of 14, he was offered a job driving a Mack truck hauling pine logs from Bega, NSW to Morwell, VIC on the all gravel winding roads east of Orbost.

There was no machinery to load the trucks in those days.  It was all done by hand, so it was very hard work.  After that job finished he carted logs from Gippsland to Melbourne.  Between 947 and 1949 he had a stint in Tasmania carting applies to the wharves in Hobart.  In those years after the war, the trade to Europe was enormous and such work was plentiful.

In 1950, with his brother Stan as partner, Les bought an Austin truck with a 30 ft semi-trailer to haul anything they could get.  The brothers soon learned what hills meant to an overloaded Austin truck on the Hume Highway.  After that they bought a MAN.  When VW cars were first built at Clayton, VIC, they bought two Commer trucks and built car-carrier trailers to carry cars between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.  In 1958 Stan decided to go farming but Les continued carrying cars.  When Leyland finished building cars in Sydney, Les then carried wrecked cars from Sydney to Melbourne.  After Volkswagon finished he carried Nissans, Toyotas and Hillmans.  At one time he had five trucks carrying the cars.

He introduced his son, Andrew, to the business in the 1980s and says he has since worn out an International and two Macks.  Now he has a Freightliner B-double with two trailers which is hauled by sub-contractors.  Les left interstate work around 1997 and hauled Toyotas for some time around the greater Melbourne area.  He now has a Hine, an eight pallet truck and does local deliveries from Sydney.  Les has survived all those years of breakdowns, improvisation and real tough times.

In those early years it was the truckies lot to help each other and Les spent a lot of time helping other in times of need.