Hall of Fame Inductee 2023

George Hedley

George Hedley was born in Nightcaps on December 12, 1926. He lived in Tinkertown and went to school in Nightcaps.

Always interested in trucks, George would often go for rides in Sam McRae’s truck.
When he left school, he worked in a small, family-owned coal mine with his father Tom
and brother Jack until he was old enough to get his heavy traffic licence. He then went
to drive for Sam McRae.

George was married to Jean Russell.

In 1952, he bought a small carrying business in Lumsden consisting of three trucks; two
Fords and one army surplus Chev. He added an O Bedford from the coal mine that had
closed and started G Hedley, Carrier, Lumsden, Phone 56.

It wasn’t long before more trucks were needed, so two Commers were purchased - an
artic and a flat deck. A Bedford tip truck was later added, before Leyland became the
preferred make.

In the early days of transport, George like other operators, would stretch rail restrictions
to the limit, so his name quite often appeared in the court notices. This led to a change
of name to Lumsden Transport Ltd on the advice of Charley Hay, their accountant and
adviser at that time.

By the early 1960s, the fleet consisted of seven Leylands and two Albions, and in 1964, two
Mercedes 1418s. In the early 1960s, development started on the Manapouri power scheme,
which involved significant cartage contracts on the horizon. In February 1964, George along
with Cliff Bennetts [Mossburn Transport], and Terry Gilligan [Te Anau Transport] formed a
company with equal shareholding called Manapouri Haulage, with the specific purpose of
carrying out these contracts and called on their own principal companies to help as required.

This worked so well, in December 1964, the three principals merged with Manapouri
Haulage, and the trio also purchased Five Rivers Transport to form what is now known as
Northern Southland Transport (NSTH). ln 1967, they acquired J E Price of Garston with two
trucks, and in February 1969, Wakatipu Transport amalgamated with NSTH.

George then went on to develop new businesses that were purchased by NSTH, including
Southland Bin Services, the Invercargill freight depot in Bond Street, and Trans West
Holdings on the West Coast. One of his achievements there was to develop a two-deck
cattle trailer that would fit onto the Taramakau road rail bridge. He represented NSTH
on the Trans West board of directors along with John Davies.

In 1982, George was dismissed as a director of NSTH and set about starting a Lumsden
based transport again. To obtain the goods services licences needed, he bought McDougalls
Transport at Winton, and three of the licences were transferred to owner drivers and the
balance held by the company, now called Hedley’s Transport Ltd. George operated this
company out of Winton until 1985 when his shares were taken over by Tom and Lanie Hedley,
who operated until 2006 with 14 units. George retired in the late 1980s and went to Nerang
Australia, where he loved to travel, often going outback and stopping over in some of Jim
Cooper’s roadhouses.

George served the local community in many ways, giving whatever was needed
in the way of machinery or cartage. He always turned up with a full water tank for the
fire brigade whenever the alarm went off. George loved golf, was very active in the
club and shifted the clubhouse to the new golf course in one piece. He was chairman
of the Lumsden town board and was a member of the Lions.

George passed away on March 12, 2003.

Peter Walker
Ian Guise