Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2015
Gary (Benno) Bennett was born on the 18th March 1948 in Charlton Victoria. He grew up around trucks and buses as his father Vince was involved in the industry. At 21 Gary moved to Melbourne working with Lance Grenda and Grenda Bus Services gaining experience in charters and tours.
In 1972 Gary moved to Charlton joining his father’s school bus and charter business. He purchased his first coach (Bertha) and became a regular tour operator for Centralian Tours which he later became Centralian Staff and Expo Adventure Tours. Gary was one of the first operators to tow a trailer behind a tourist coach up the Birdsville Track and was a member of A.R.C.S.C. (Ayers Rock Cock Sock Club) and A.L.D.E.C.C. (Australian Long Distance Experienced Coach Crews).
In 1976 Gary purchased two new coaches making a fleet of four and developed Bennett’s Educational Tours, specializing in tours of Central Australia, Canberra and the East Coast. Gary has the ability to bring people together from all walks of life. Occasionally on tour, coaches became stranded. Often weather conditions or makeshift repairs forced them to make their own entertainment. These ‘unplanned stops’ often became the tour highlight for the participants.
In 1982 Gary established Bennett’s Transport operating in grain, bulk cartage and interstate transport. Gary spent an impressive17 consecutive years carting grain on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Gary 1988 Peterbilt 362 big cab (The Frill Neck Lizard) became well known Australia wide.
In 2000 Gary and his wife Joy made the decision to sell. The sale marked a significant end of an era. With Vince, his father, and Gary combined they recorded 50 years in the bus industry. In 2003 Gary joined his three sons in Geelong to form BQS Group, operating in transport and earthmoving.
Gary almost lost his right arm in a truck tyre explosion in 2008. After 18 months of rehabilitation, Gary was able to drive but not in the same capacity. He continued to be active in the industry that has been his life until his retirement in 2014.