Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2013.
Leslie Thomas Shedden was born in 1918. He was a hardworking truckie in Newcastle, New South Wales, who began his service to the industry in 1952 when he gave up his job as a first class machine operator and bought a five tonne Austin truck. Carting milk churns for a local company in Newcastle to various areas of Queensland and hauling sawn timber from the north coast of New South Wales were his first loads. At this time the entire Pacific Highway was gravel.
When the road tax was introduced, Les would rotary hoe people’s backyards at weekends to cover expenses. In the late 1950s another job came his way and he began carting tyres on a weekly basis from Sydney to Tamworth for Goodyear. At first Les loaded the tyres on a table top truck with the freight stacked to legal height. It was then roped and tarped with no gates to secure it. Later he became one of the first to use gates to keep his load safe. His time with Goodyear lasted for approximately 15 years.
During this time Les also branched out into bulk liquid cartage of tallow from various local abattoirs. To make this job work more efficiently he designed a tank with an internal steam jacket. He had this design manufactured locally.
Over the next 25 years Les expanded his business to include seven trucks and employed drivers but still drove, did all his own mechanical repairs and engine rebuilds.
At the age of 45 Les had a kidney removed but it was not enough to keep him away and within a year he was back at work. In 1974, Les’ younger son, Paul joined the business and the fleet was changed from the smaller rigid vehicles to semi-trailers. Ten years later, in 1984, Les retired after selling the final section of his business to Mayne Nickless.
Les enjoyed just two years of retirement with his wife before passing away in 1986. He is considered one of the real pioneers of the transport industry and is missed by the many friends he made along the roads. Les was a true gentleman of the highway and a great representative for the trucking industry in Australia.