Fred Teague and Hawker Motors

Hawker Motors was started by Fred Teague in October 1952. Fred passed away 11th March 1994 after more than 42 years in the motor business and tourism industry. The business is now operated by his son John and daughter-in-law Janet. Fred’s wife Eileen passed away 19th October 1996.

Fred TeagueMotor Trades Association SA – Farewell to Fred

Reproduced from M.T.A of SA (Motor Trade Journal May 1994).

Frederick Arthur Teague was born at Olary on 28th November, 1912, three months after his father had passed away. As a young lad he helped his mother in the Waukaringa Hotel, was a gold prospector, fox shooter, post cutter, horse tailer in the droving camps, worked in the shearing sheds, and drove trucks for H.E. Ding of Yunta.

He met his wife Eileen in 1937 when she lived at Lyndhurst. He drove the Marree-Birdsville Mail for 18 months from early 1937. During one trip he drove from Marree with a fully loaded truck to the Birdsville Hospital in 18 hours, and did the return trip in 12 hours. That was a record for the shortest trip. He said he also held the record for the longest trip which took two weeks. Once he was hurrying back from Birdsville to get to a dance in Marree. When he got back he went to have a quick rest, but when he awoke the dance had finished as it was the next morning. Eileen and Fred were married in Peterborough on the 4th March, 1940, and had five children; Carlene, Marjorie, John, Cheryl and Sharon. They moved to Hawker with Carlene as a baby on Australia Day in 1941.

Fred bought A.T. Edwards & Sons General Store in 1952, and worked at nights to transform the shop into a garage while still driving the mail during the day. Hawker Motors opened later that year. Fred was the first country SAGASCO agent in South Australia. He sold fridges, TVs, cars, tractors, and was the Mobil fuel agent. Fred was also involved in tourism, forming the first Flinders Tourism Committee, and saw potential for tourism in the area. This interest continued until his death, and he has become known Australia wide by visitors to the Flinders. His lifelong interest and practical experience in geology, archaeology, and anthropology also made him a person to be consulted by many scientists researching the area.

Fred TeagueHe was involved in many activities in Hawker, such as being on the School Council as Chairman for many years, showed the pictures at the Institute, ran the Hawker Power House for a time, on the Rodeo Committee and the Camera Club. Fred was a J.P. and local Coroner formany years. He was the local R.A.A. contractor for more than 40 years. All of this time he was still running the garage and raising a family.
In 1986, with his son John, he moved from the original garage to the premises across the road where he worked until his death. This was a remarkable feat for an 81 year old. He is sadly missed by the many locals and travellers who asked for his advice or knowledge, and always expected his friendly face and greeting to be there.

A tribute at Fred’s funeral by the Reverend Merv Norman, a friend who went as a Methodist minister to Hawker in the 1950s. ” We were kindred spirits in our shared love of family, the northern bush and Flinders Ranges, all things mechanical, and a fundamental desire to be useful and to serve others.

We shared many experiences, both around the home and business, over numerous cups of tea, and also on odd trips out bush. I marvelled at his bushcraft, and what he was able to see in trees and creeks where I saw nothing. Until with great care and infinite patience, he would explain the mystery and point out what must be obvious to any reasonable being. I envied his ability to relate to people across cultures. He accepted people as they were. To the best of my knowledge, aboriginal people as well as the white community regarded him with great affection and respect. From time to time, all were equally welcome in his home. Despite limited formal education, he rose well above any limitation this imposed upon him. I feel my most apt description of this intelligent, multi-talented man would be a quiet, gentle, generous man, with wonderful patience, and a great sense of humour”. The MTA bids farewell to a fine Australian.

Mr Flinders Ranges

Reproduced from the RAA of SA Flinders Ranges published 1992.

Among the people associated with the Flinders Ranges, one of the most quietly knowledgeable and enthusiastic is Fred Teague. Some visitors take on petrol at the Hawker Motors service station run by Fred and his son John, never dreaming that Fred Teague as been one of the leading Flinders Ranges and outback characters since the 1930s, or that the riches of a lifetime of collecting are displayed inside the service station. With the legendary Harry Ding, he pioneered long-distance trucking. They used a massive AEC unit with a ladder up to the cab and three tiers of sheep pens.

Many years ago Fred told me that this monster ‘pioneered sheep carting as we know it’. For a time he swapped trucks for an early Ford V8, spending 18 months operating the famed Birdsville mail run – sometimes two or three trips a week on the atrocious track. In time Fred forsook those distant horizons for a less hectic career as a garage owner in Hawker. Not long after he had established Hawker Motors he became the RAA Road Service contractor during the 1950s and he is now among the longest-serving of those dedicated country troubleshooters for motorists.

bottlesFor 60 years or so, Fred had been an inveterate collector. It all began with some mineral specimens which he discovered in the Flinders Ranges. The compact museum, which is open to visitors, is packed with geological and mineral specimens ranging from beryl and bornite to exquisite scholzite crystals from Reaphook Hill. There are Aboriginal artifacts and a wide range of regional items from a pedal radio to a camel’s shoe. A number of pieces come from the now-deserted town of Waukaringa – Fred lived there once, for his mother ran the hotel for nearly 20 years.

From another corner of his full life come one or two strange geological specimens found along the Birdsville Track. There are also fine examples of the Ediacara fossils – first discovered by Arkarooia’s Reg Sprigg and the oldest forms of such relatively advanced animal life ever found. If anyone deserves the title of ‘Mr Flinders Ranges’ it was Fred Teague.