Les Finnarty with his Volvo.
Les Finnarty with his Volvo. Jon Wallis

Tassie Truckin: Jace’s father Les retires

WE CAUGHT up with Jace Finearty from Launceston the other day out in the forest.

He was driving a schmick Les Walkden T-409 with a 550 Hp Euro 5 up front and towing a load of plantation logs from Montana to Bell Bay at the time.

He tells us his role is mainly supporting other operations in Walkden's, so he floats about from job to job.

Jace has been with his father Les Finearty, from Devonport, recently of Tasfreight, literally since he was out of nappies.

In fact when Les asked him what he wanted to do with his life, he answered "drive trucks like you dad". Then Les said, "Well if you want to drive them, learn how to fix them first!"

So Jace then worked as diesel fitter, until six or seven years ago, when he got back into driving trucks full-time. This change in fact gave him more time home with the family.

Now Jace and Joan and the family have asked us to give Les a small mention as he in fact retired the other day after 40-45 years on the road.

 

OLD GOLD: Les Finerty’s 1981 MAN.
OLD GOLD: Les Finerty’s 1981 MAN. Contributed

"He always said he would retire at 65," Jace told us, "and that's exactly what he did!"

"On the day (April 8) after morning tea with the crew in Devonport, he took a load down to Hobart which gave him a chance to have a cuppa and say farewell to the blokes at the depot there, and then he got back after everyone had knocked off up here... I think they may have something planned for him shortly though."

Les got his truck licence in Hobart back in 1968, when he was 18 years old, and he was keen then to drive! In fact he was in the 44th Transport Division Army Reserve for 16 years, becoming a driving instructor there.

He moved to Devonport after his national service and he found work there as a butcher, but he found casual work as a milk tanker driver and also doing general freight at the same time.

In 1979 he bought an MAN 190 Hp Prime Mover with a lazy axle and a pogo stick gear lever, and started out as an owner driver and sub-contractor carting general freight.

 

Les Finerty with his youngest Grandson Marcus.Photo Contributed
Les Finerty with his youngest Grandson Marcus.Photo Contributed Contributed

From 1982-2010, he drove for Shell Co of Australia starting with heating oil deliveries then bulk fuel deliveries State wide. He was also a Fuel testing officer for Shell.

Then he began work for Tasfreight in 2010 through until his retirement in 2016 carting general freight. He reluctantly took delivery of a brand new FM9 Volvo there and he drove that until his retirement.

He plans to do so some travelling to start off, then to go fishing, and perhaps more fishing, but most importantly spending more time with wife Joan, and the family, especially his five grandchildren.

Jace admits Les is a quiet and modest man who will no doubt be very surprised to read this, but he has certainly made a lot of friends, both in and out of the industry, and we would like to join them all in wishing Les the very best for his retirement, and for a long and happy future.

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