SEARLES, Lenard

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2008.

Lenard Searles' father taught him to drive at the age of 13 while carting railway sleepers and charcoal from Eden Valley and the Barossa district to Adelaide during the depression years.  It was hard times and there was no wage involved.  He was lucky to get tucker!

In 1948 Len drove an army Blitz from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock and the Olgas to help find water for tourist trips.  He also did the mail run to Mt Isa in a truck with a Bedford truck chassis and a passenger body.  He spent many years in this job.

Len then went to Adelaide to work for Pratts Transport carting hay, wheat and barley interstate driving a triple-decker livestock International and later he drove a Ford for SW & AADHU Livestock and super-carriers.  He then started  his own garage repairing and restoring trucks and cars.  Len completely rebuilt a US Army Diamond T and fitted it with a complete hydraulic boring machine.

In 1948 Len also spent some years going in and out of Alice Springs to the airport with the mail and passengers.  When not carting mail, Len spent his time taking tourists all over the Northern Territory including Ayers Rock.  He also carted truckloads of windmill parts from Alice Springs out to cattle stations and flour and perishables to Hermannsburg mission.  Len worked cutting tracks in and out of Palm Valley.

In 1942 the Allied Forces constructed a narrow road from Alice to Darwin and Len travelled this road many times, clocking up 196,000 miles in his International with a 7-cyclinder diesel.  In 1952 he drove for Kittles at Tennant Creek.  Len has many great stories about the road, about working with his mates and about the legendary Tom Kruse.  Len was also a volunteer member of the coast guard and an active member of his local community where he supported many organisation and charities.