Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.Jack Patten’s story started back in 1938 when continuing drought and the Great Depression made Jack’s father, William Patten, decide to leave his sheep and wheat property in West Wyalong and move his family to Leeton, NSW,. William felt work prospects were much better in that area and soon purchased a tray body truck and commenced work as WG Patten and Sons, an independent carrier.
Along with his two older sons, George and Bill, the business carted mallee roots used for firewood, fruit for the cannery and other general freight when and as they could get it. The company bought its second truck in 1941 and by 1947 had expanded into interstate primarily carting to Melbourne where they set up their own transport depot.
Jack joined the business in 1948 as a fifteen year old and remembers that was when the business purchased its first semi-trailer. Pattens at that stage were carting fruit for the Letona Cannery and rice products for Ricegrowers Co-operative Mills Limited to Melbourne. They backloaded with general groceries and raw materials to Leeton. Over the years Pattens developed a great working relationship with both Letona and Ricegrowers. Pattens held the freight contract with Ricegrowers for 49 years.
In 1950 Jack married Barbara Collins and strarted a family. Jack spent most of his life as a truck driver. Although it was very hard to make ends meet at times they had six children; Barry, Lorraine, Michael, Julie, Greg and Steve.
In 1966, Terry and Pam Beaver joined the business to work in office administration. At that time the company changed its name to Pattens Transport Service. A team of mechanics was employed to keep the fleet running and Geoff Hamilton, a good friend and employee also became part of management. In 1985 Jack’s two younger sons, Greg and Steve, joined the business.
In 1994 Letona Cannery closed and Pattens Transport regrettably lost a lot of work carting to and from Cowra, Batlow and Melbourne but the company were quick to regroup. By 1996 Pattens Transport Service employed 28 people and operated 16 trucks and 30 semi-trailers which ran nightly from Leeton to Sydney and Leeton to Melbourne.
In 1999 the unimaginable happened and Pattens Transport lost the contract with Ricegrowers. It was an emotional and financial shock after 49 years. A financial decision was made to close the doors in March, 1999. After much heartache and debate Pattens Transport held an auction to dispose of all of their trucks and trailers. Today the depot in Dunn Avenue, Leeton, still operates as Pattens Transport Service. It houses their three school buses, a truck repair business and is a warehouse of finished product for SunRice.