Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2015
Richard (Dick) Bates was born in Cooma NSW in 1941 and grew up in Canberra. He has been driving trucks all his working life, clocking up in excess of 57 years and over 10 million kilometres in that time. Dick also has a special interest in racing and has built, renovated and raced trucks of various kinds during this time.
Dick’s first experience in the trucking industry was in 1958 when he began work as a driver for Birds Eye Frozen Foods driving a 160 International fridge pantec. In 1960 he started driving a Commer refrigerated van delivering frozen foods in the Canberra area.
In 1963, Dick decided on a change and started operating tippers in Queanbeyan, NSW, for John and Rita Rees at Ready Mix Cooma Road. In 1964, the Rees helped Dick purchase his first truck and he continues to work out of Ready Mix as a subcontractor to this day.
During his career Dick has worked on many of the ACT’s major roads and contributed to the development of several landmarks in the Canberra area, notably Lake Burley Griffin, new Parliament House, Australian National Gallery, High Court of Australia, Orroral Valley Tacking Station, Honey Suckle Tracking Station, Bendora and Corin Dam and Telstra Tower- where his truck was one of the few trucks capable of accessing the 100ft hole.
Dick is very well known in the ACT and NSW trucking industry as a fair and honest bloke always willing to lend a hand to his mates on the road. He is highly regarded by his peers for his ‘no nonsense’ attitude and willingness to assist within the industry. He is also well recognised for his knowledge of trucks, trailers and mechanics.
Of all the types of trucks he has owned, Dick is proudest of the four working trucks he has restored to pristine condition. These are a 1998 Freightliner, a 1964 International, a 1966 Peterbuilt and a 1976 Autocar. His beloved dog, a constant companion on the road, ‘Mallory’ is credited with saving Dick’s life by barking and getting help after Dick had been trapped under the cab in an accident. In 1957, Dick started his other passion, car racing, which continues today. In 1977 he also started racing trucks in drag races and the half mile at Tralee Speedway. In total, Dick has owned over 11 trucks in various configurations over his years in the industry.