Dennis Brian Hofen, known as ‘Sundowner’, was born in Orbost, Victoria, in 1950. At the age of 19, Dennis moved to Melbourne to take on his first job as a truck driver at Moorabbin Fencing, delivering fencing materials. After some time, Dennis bought his first tray top truck and returned to Orbost to operate a sawmill with his brother.
He then returned to Melbourne, and started driving a semi-trailer but during his early 20’s, Dennis transitioned from local to interstate driving. He became an owner-driver and subcontracted for several companies, including Claytons and Nash’s. He also drove for Dandy Bacon before he bought a refrigerated truck to run his own smallgoods delivery business in Gippsland, Victoria.
Over the years, he has owned tip trucks, bin hires, semi trailers and many different makes of trucks but his favourite was always a Mack. He has hauled various cargoes including timber, general goods, fresh vegetables and gas. Dennis recalls one trip where he ran off the road and into a paddock at the bottom of a hill. The first driver to assist was an old high school friend, Sharky, whom he hadn’t seen since school in Orbost! Dennis also drove taxis until one night, a passenger stabbed him several times to avoid paying the fare!
For a time, Dennis managed a business co-ordinating the supply of drivers and their vehicles to different companies and he purchased two Mack trucks, his pride and joys. Unfortunately, the recession hit hard and when this business closed, Dennis worked as a transport manager at Gosch, then Elgas and finally, Safeway.
Eventually an opportunity opened up to work alongside his sons and son-in-law in a truck sign-writing business. They branched off into repair work for all types of trailers and Dennis stayed in the roles of co-owner and manager for some 15 years.
Dennis often reminisces about his time on the road including the friendships he has made and maintained, as well as the many sights he has seen. Now he travels the highways with his wife, Rita, and their caravan.
Inducted in 2021