Gary Clarence Niddrie (Beans as he was known in his trucking days) was born 23rdJanuary 1943 in Harris Park New South Wales and passed away 22ndJune 2008 in Port Willunga South Australia.
Gary married Dianne Heffernan in 1973. she was working at the
Riverside as a barmaid where dad and his trucking mates would meet, mum thought dad was an arrogant truckie when she first served him. They had 3 girls Karen, Kellie and Donna who were all born in Queensland. Dad had 2 sons previous to meeting my mum, my brother Gary William Niddrie Jnr born in Alice Springs and my brother Darren Quilty born in Melbourne.
During the 1960s and 1970s Beans drove road trains in Alice Springs. He was an old school road train driver in the outback was able to handle anything the bush threw at him. He drove B61 711 18 speed quad box, R65 600 Flintstone for Buntines Freight Ways, Co ords and Timor Transport for Doug Parkes.
Many years were spent driving road trains from Alice Springs to Darwin, Melbourne, Golden Gate, Western Australia and Mount Isa. Dad drove 2-up with Pissy Pepperill push-pull team of B-model trucks transporting the first locomotive to Darwin and carted huts to the Ord River Dam site before it was built. Beans also carted tallow to Darwin Harbour from Katherine and loaded copper ore at Peko Mine in Tennant Creek and drove B61 No3. carting locos to Larrimah.
Back in the 1960s truckies were superstitious and on the road they would sometimes park together at a place up the track called Devils Elbow. Only one driver to each truck was normal back then, so sleep deprived and very tired they sat around their billy fires. Beans, a real larrikin knew about these superstitions so when in Mt Isa bought a mannequin dressed in a flimsy outfit . He placed the mannequin in the pitch black on top of the rocks above the pass at Devils Elbow and started wailing in an eerie voice. The truckies stopped talking, looked at each other, looked up and saw the figure. They let out a yell and all bolted to their trucks, left all their meals and tore off up the track. From that time on they never parked at the haunted pass again and were never told the truth of Beans' ghost.
Beans and Dianne left Alice Springs in 1973 and headed to Darwin. He worked for NT Freight for a while before they headed to the Gold Coast where Beans managed a Brahman bull stud farm. Their next move was to Rainbow Beach in Queensland where Beans worked in the sand mines driving trucks. Then it was on to northern Queensland where he worked in the tin mines before moving back to South Australia in 1978. Here Beans worked for Tatiara Transport driving Adelaide to Melbourne and Adelaide to Perth. In 1979 he started working for Allen Brothers Asphalt driving trucks with the road crew. He stopped driving trucks in 1989 when he started working as a concreter.
Beans was a truckie at heart and missed being on the road. He was a true blue, hardworking Aussie and sometimes known as Larrikin His motto was catch ya down the track.