Transport industry icon awarded an OAM
TRANSPORT industry icon Tom Lindsay has today been awarded an Order of Australia Medal.
The Australia Day honour is recognition of the role that Tom has played in keeping Australia moving over six decades, while generously giving his time to the Coffs Harbour community.
Tom an inductee to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, founded the family company Lindsay Bros Transport with his brother Peter in March, 1953.
They each put 500 pounds towards a deposit to purchase three second-hand five-ton Ford trucks from their father, Victor who carted bananas and produce to rail.
A fond story that Tom tells is that "The Lindsay Brothers first 'mechanics workshop' was a vice attached to a timber log."
In the first 10 years, Tom and Peter each drove trucks every day, originally carting fruit and vegetables to the Newcastle and Sydney markets.
Then as the business grew they backed off driving in order to manage their growing enterprise.
Fast forward to 2020 and Lindsay Australia, a publicly listed company, has close to 1,400 employees operating a nationwide network.
The company drives 60 million kilometres annually or the equivalent of the distance from Earth to Mars to generate revenue of $400 million a year.
Tom was a Board Member on various Road Transport Association Committees for more than 20 years.
In 2003, he was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs and in 2013 he was inducted into the Queensland Road Transport Legends Hall of Fame for his "Service to the Road Transport Industry".
In August, he was made an industry "Icon" in the Shell Rimula Hall of Fame in Alice Springs, in recognition of his "Lifetime Service and Contribution to the Australian Road Transport Industry".
Tom's lifelong ambition was to own 20 Mack trucks and to retire at 55.
They achieved the 20 Mack trucks in the early 1970's, but retirement evaded him until he was 79 years old, in 2010.
Although Tom has officially retired, being a major shareholder you will still find him at the Boambee depot for an hour or so each day, checking on his grandsons' management skills.
Tom's advice to the younger generation to help them to be successful in business says a lot about his own work ethic and reputation in business.
"Success can only be achieved through hard work, common sense, honesty and personalised service in all business dealings," he said
"Unfortunately, the good old-fashioned hand shake that we all relied on for so many years has now been replaced by legal documents."
During Tom's time at Lindsay Bros he was also involved in managing a 200-acre farm at Hyde's Creek, north of Bellingen, planting 25 acres of bananas, growing beans, peas and tomatoes, together with a few acres of citrus.
He added a dairy, and eventually the farm expanded to the stage that they had five share-farmers working on the property.
It was at this stage that Tom returned to the trucks.
During his time at Lindsay Bros he was also involved in earthmoving, a garden centre, a crane company, brick wholesaling and four service stations.
He was also involved with the rebuilding of Bonville Golf Resort, which he managed for nine years.
In 1998 Tom's brother, Peter, passed away aged 68, Tom was 66.
In 2003 P & H Rural, a company owned by Tom's son Kim, amalgamated with Lindsay Bros Transport and then Tom, together with Peter's family, decided to float the company onto the Australian Stock Exchange, becoming a publicly listed company.
The company name was then changed to Lindsay Australia.
Tom, being one of the largest shareholders in the new company, sat on the board for a further seven years.
A generous benefactor to the Coffs Harbour community, he was a member of the Coffs Harbour Rotary Club for over 40 years where, over the years, he served on committee.
He was the president of the club and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow for his service to Rotary International.
He headed many fundraising projects, was on the Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee - taking several tours of around 30 overseas Youth Exchange Students through the centre of Australia and to Canberra.
As a volunteer, Tom worked on overseas charity building projects with Rotary and today continues to supports many charities and sporting bodies throughout the community and nationally.
Tom Lindsay is today one of 1,099 Australians to receive Australia Day Honours.
Included in the list are:
- 837 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (5 AC, 59 AO, 224 AM and 549 OAM)
- 26 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (1 AO, 13 AM and 12 OAM); and
- 236 meritorious awards.
"Dedicated, committed, selfless - the people recognised today are outstanding and exemplify the best of Australia. I congratulate them," The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) said.
"Behind every medal and citation is a story. Whether through their service, sacrifice or significant achievement, these people help others and make our towns, communities and nation better.
"They're extraordinary but also, in the best possible way, ordinary.
"The fantastic thing, the inspirational thing, is that we all know people like those who have been recognised today - people who look out for each other and, day-in-day-out, serve their communities in ways big and small. We have seen countless examples of this sort of service during the bushfire crisis.
"These outstanding Australians represent the best of who we are as a nation."
TOM LINDSAY - The Early Years
Born in Coffs Harbour (Sunnyside Hospital in Elizabeth Street) on 18 May 1931.
Grew up in Boambee and attended Boambee Public School, followed by St. Augustine's Catholic School.
Tom and his brother Peter doubled each other on one pushbike and on a gravel road to St. Augustine's from Boambee to Coffs Harbour for two years.
At the age of 13 Tom left school to join the workforce to help provide income for the family.
In the early 1940's he picked peas and beans, before and after school, on neighbourhood farms, handing his wage to the family.
At 13 Tom worked on a banana and tomato farm.
At the age of 17 he was share-farming on a tomato farm.
Successful the first year, the enterprise was then washed out by the floods the second year.
Tom then went to Sydney and worked for Unilever in the Pear Soap division.
He worked five 10-hour weekday shifts then 12 hours on Saturdays.
He lived in Kings Cross and, as there were no trams on a Saturday before 7am, he would run from Kings Cross to York Street in the city, catch the bus to Balmain, where he worked from 6am to 6pm, then catch the tram home.
At the age of 21 he had made enough money to return to Coffs Harbour where the Lindsay Brothers transport dream was realised.
LINDSAY AUSTRALIA in 2020
Lindsay Australia is today a fully integrated rural supply, transport and logistics company, operating an unbroken cold-chain from the paddock to the port.
Lindsay Rural provides products such as Visy cartons, fertiliser and cropping advice to farmers.
Lindsay Transport takes the produce through one of the country's largest refrigerated networks, combining more than 1,400 registered satellite-tracked vehicles and trailers, 33 depots and warehouses and utilises 20 freight terminals.
The import-export division, Lindsay Fresh Logistics, ripens, fumigates and stores produce.
This division exports to 20 countries on the three continents of Asia, North America and Europe, and imports from 10 countries through Qantas and the Port of Brisbane.
Lindsay Australia has 1,278 employees who operate this network, driving the equivalent of the distance from Earth to Mars annually to create revenue of $360 million a year.
In 2018 Lindsay Australia celebrated 65 years in business.
In August 2019 he was made an Industry "Icon" onto the Shell Rimula Hall of Fame in Alice Springs, in recognition of his "Lifetime Service and Contribution to the Australian Road Transport Industry".