LEGENDARY CLOSE SHAVE
Andrew ‘Dicko’ Dickins enjoys driving a Kenworth T950 Legend, but he’s a legend in his own right after sacrificing his beard for charity.
ANDREW DICKINS, or ‘Dicko’ as he is known in the industry, arrived at the Oaklands Truck Show in March this year driving a Dawson’s Haulage 2016 Kenworth T950 Legend. When he stepped out of the rig he was sporting his signature fiery red beard.
However, by the show’s end the beard was gone. Dicko had sacrificed his facial hair for the charity fundraising Leukaemia Foundation’s Greatest Shave. Dicko is a single bloke with no children but loves his three nieces and kids in general.
“I hate seeing little kids sick, especially with things like cancer,” he says. “It’s not like they have even had a bit of a go at life yet.”
Bridget Mahony, who works in the Dawson’s Haulage office, came up with the idea, thinking that Dicko’s beard would be the ideal sacrifice.
“Last year she said I should do the shave for a cure,” he recalls. “I replied that if she organised it I would do it.
“Unfortunately things happened and we got busy and we missed out.”
Bridget made the offer again in March this year, and Dicko again agreed. This time it was on.
Dicko is big on donating to any kind of children’s charity, so when this opportunity came up he had no hesitation. After all, he says, it’s only hair.
“I had the choice of whether to lose my hair or not; some of those poor buggers don’t.”
Bridget organised the fundraising for the shave, raising an impressive tally of $4500.
“Now I can shower in half the time,” Dicko laughs.
“And shampoo costs have gone through the floor.”
The weekend of the truck show also coincided with Dicko’s birthday, but it was more about taking a break and socialising with the workmates he rarely gets to see. His runs in the Kenworth take him anywhere and everywhere, mostly away from the capital cities.
“I enjoy being out in the bush and
prefer the long-distance runs over the Sydney-Melbourne work,” he adds.
The Kenworth T950 Legend, a standout in the Dawson’s fleet, is well suited to long-haul work. While the other trucks are white with green bands, Dicko’s rig is black and gold.
“The final colours were a surprise to everyone,” he says. “The boss has gone to a fair bit of trouble with the truck – like the Aero One roof.”
The tanks have been wrapped and the air cleaners chromed and extra lights have been fitted.
“I love it. It really is a beautiful machine to drive.
“Being a bit of a unique thing, I get a lot of pride out of driving it. It’s as good as it looks.”
Dicko gets to see a fair bit of the country, covering all of Australia carrying pretty much everything that will fit on a flat top.
He says 99 per cent of his work is with flat-top trailers and then most with road trains.
“I prefer the flat-top work. It’s what I have always done – chains, ropes and tarps.”
Due to the large amount of time away, Dicko mostly cooks for himself on the road.
“If you are doing oversize with daylight travel restrictions and that sort of thing, we cook a fair bit but you have to pull your finger out and keep it going.
“It depends on lots of things as to what and where you eat.”
Dicko says the downside in travelling all over Australia is adapting to the different rules in each state.
“You really have to try and be on top of your game and do the right thing all of the time, no matter where you are,” he says. “With our oversize stuff, it does get very confusing.
“I enjoy travelling in the Northern Territory and WA, I just like to be left alone and in those two states everything seems to be easier.
“People have a lot more idea of what trucks do and how they behave on the road. I’m much more comfortable there.”
Dicko has been with Dawson’s for six years now and says he enjoys the company and the work.
“It’s a good job and Gaz [Graeme Dawson] is a great boss.
“He’s a hands-on type of bloke. He had his own trucks at a fairly young age and he also drove for a few other people.
“I get on well with him and he’s been good to me.”
Dicko comes from a family farming background and from a young age truck driving was all he ever thought about.
He was more interested in looking at the vehicles going past the school rather than listening to what the teacher was talking about.
“I remember driving around in an old Maple Leaf Chevy truck when I was seven or eight,” he explains. “On the farm I was my Dad’s shadow.”
After leaving school at 15, Dicko worked in feed mills in Cowra, NSW, but he had his licence by his late teens and hit the road.
His first paid driving job was behind the wheel of a Kenworth SAR for a bloke named Bobby Lewis. This was followed by a stint in an eight-wheeler UD for Mark
Bolt and he progressed from there. At Dawson’s, Dicko was behind the wheel of a cab-over Kenworth, then a T659 that he drove for three and a half years before the T950 Legend came along.
The Kenworth hauls timber up and down the east coast
After: Dicko shaved his beard for charity
Before: Andrew ‘Dicko’ Dickins’ trademark beard with his