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Year: 2014

14LEECHJackPort14LEECHJackInter1948 14LEECHjackapples

Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.

Jack Leech was born in Inglewood, Victoria in 1923. He moved to Maryborough, Victoria at the age of five, living through the depression. In 1937, aged 14, with just six shillings in his pocket, Jack arrived in Castlemaine. His first job was at Campbell's Creek working 16 hour days on a dredge. He did this job long enough to buy his first truck and a log jinker at the age of 17. Jack carted wood for Thompsons Foundry. Around 40 tons per day was carted to meet the production demands placed on them during the second World War. It was all man handled on and off the trucks.

Jack's first 'new' truck, was a K8 International used to clear red gum from Cairn Curran reservoir in central Victoria. Jack cut 900 million super feet of red gum in two years before moving to Fawkner for 12 months. Here he carted logs along runs so steep that the brakes would be worn out after just two trips! In 1952 Jack was the very first carrier to take a load of apples from Harcourt to Brisbane. It took him a fortnight to do the run with no such thing as extra fuel tanks. Fuel had to be carried in 44 gallon drums behind the cabin. There were no truck stops along the way, just a dam or creek or a horse trough. Over the years Jack carted pumps from Thompsons Foundry to every power station in NSW, WA and SA. On one of the many trips to the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, he had to be lowered into the valley by a bulldozer on a winch to get the pumps into position, and then be winched back up again.

Jack built the Golden Fleece petrol station in Castlemaine in 1954 with the help of his three sons. Following this, they built the truck yard which still operates today as J.J. Leech & Sons. Amongst his fleet of trucks Jack also ran a successful mobile crane business and was very much respected in the construction industry. He always loved driving and even well into his seventies was enthusiastically teaching younger family members and staff how to drive trucks.

Jack married the love of his life, Dot when they were both 21 and had three boys, Jeffrey, Graham and Owen who still operate the family business today along with the next generation of sons and daughters. Jack achieved so much over the years and proved over and over again that determination, hard work and willpower does pay off.



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