Francis Damien Leach, known as Frank or ‘Pound’, was born in Red Cliffs, Victoria in November, 1946. He grew up on the family’s fruit block with his parents and eight siblings. After leaving school Frank moved to Darwin, in the Northern Territory, operating bulldozers and trucks.
In the early seventies, Frank worked for McGlashan’s and Riverland Transports in Buronga, on the River Murray, driving a B Model Mack truck. Frank then spent 13 years with Transfield operating a 65-tonne crane to install power lines all around the country.
Frank returned to Mildura in 1989 to work for P.K. Haulage and drove a Western Star between Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne in Victoria and Adelaide in South Australia. In 1991 Frank purchased his first truck, a Western Star, and established his own company, F&B Leach Pty Ltd, to cart fruit from the Mildura Co-op to the Sydney and Melbourne markets. He has driven along many different roads but fondly talks about carting potatoes from Crookwell in New South Wales when it had been snowing!
Over the next 30 years Frank built up his business as an owner-driver and had to engage subcontractors to handle some of the work. Frank was eventually able to purchase a new Western Star Constellation. He always referred to his truck as the “workhorse” until his daughter wanted to use it for her wedding. It was so clean and shiny for the special event that everyone teased Frank and agreed that it had become a real “show pony”!
Frank was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 but he went ahead and ordered a Kenworth T909 Director Series Limited Edition No 19. That truck stood on the showroom floor at the Mildura Kenworth dealer until Frank recovered and was able to get back on the road again.
Unfortunately, Frank’s driving career came to an end in October 2020 when he had an accident and his truck was written off. He retired from driving and ran his business from home, whilst undergoing medical treatment.
Frank has made many lifelong friends and is well respected within the trucking industry. His wife, Bev, daughters Sally and Kara and five grandchildren are very proud of his strong work ethic and achievements in life. Inducted in 2021