Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Les Dean has lived in Bendigo, Victoria for most of his life and for the past 45 years has been involved in transport. As a small boy he always held a fascination for trucks and hoped to become a truck driver. However, when the opportunity arose to serve an apprenticeship as a house painter when he was fifteen Les took it. He completed his apprenticeship when he was twenty and was just old enough to be conscripted for National Service and go to Vietnam.
After finishing his tour of duty, Les decided that road transport would be his life. He took on several driving jobs in the following years: for Rutlands of Bendigo, carting stock for D & E Cameron and with Knight’s Tankers from Kilmore. Les eventually bought a truck from Knights and spent several years working as a sub-contractor for them.
Les recalls one of his most embarrassing moments as being when he was washing the inside of a tanker. He slipped and fell in and “doesn't recommend it”.
In1980 Les bought a new Kenworth and refrigerated van and became one of the original owner-drivers to cart produce from far north Queensland to Melbourne. He did this up until 1986 when he purchased a taxi which he operated in Bendigo for five years before buying a tipper and bobcat. The call of the highways inevitably got to Les again and he took a job driving for Wooltrans of Bendigo for the next 14 years until he retired in 2010.
The best thing Les remembers about the old days was that everybody who drove trucks was a mate and would help out whenever assistance was needed. He believes that mateship is hard to find on the eastern seaboard and in the metropolitan areas today but that it is still alive and well in the outback.
In 2012 Les Dean enjoys spending his retirement restoring his AB180 International tipper, playing golf and driving his GT Falcon.