Shane Coates

You might say that Shane Coates has an obsession with trucks.

You’d be right. It’s a love that started in the back yard sand pit some forty-or-so years ago, but, unlike most young lads whose dreams, more often than not, travel far from their origins, Shane’s romance with trucks, the road, and ‘going somewhere’, have stayed with him a lifetime.

From the very first time he saw an anonymous truck on the road he was captivated. What it was carrying? Where it was going? Was it just like the truck he’d drive someday? Where could it take him? Was he there yet? Although some of the questions may have changed over the years, the fascination didn’t wane and the day he became legally eligible for a truck license, well, he had one in his hand. And a job to go with it.

So began a long career driving interstate, delivering all manor of freight all over the country, and while over the next twenty-five years Shane drifted away from the road, he never left the industry that had won his heart.

In 1994 Shane co-founded ‘Fleetmark’ with his brother, Dean Coates, which would go on to become the largest applicator of graphics and specialist coatings to the transport industry in the country.

In 2005 it was suggested to Shane that his years of experience would be well brought to bear as an investigator of Heavy Vehicle Accidents, and so with a new investigators license in his pocket, began freelance work for some of Australia’s largest truck insurers. While he currently consults to selected carriers on their risk position in relation to accidents, Shane also works as a freelance journalist producing news articles, profiles and opinion pieces for various transport publications.

It was, in fact, while producing an article for the widely known publication ‘Owner Driver’ that he met Graeme Dyer, and a strong friendship was formed. Impressed with Shane’s unique ‘gravel ‘n all’ narrative style of writing, he asked Shane to write a book about the Dyer family, telling their story, their far reaching history, and their role in transport.

“As Fate Would Have It” is the end result, and is Shane’s first book.



Review By Carol Williams

Your writing, which I have had time to read and evaluate, is very clear and easy to read. I have dipped into each chapter so far and have been very moved by some of it and fascinated by other parts. I think including the letters from the war was wonderful, as was Leo's diary from his 1959 adventure in the US

But more than anything else, your research is fantastic. You must have reams and reams of stuff but you have brought it back to exactly the right balance of personal interpretation and observation.

In this way, the book itself is fascinating: it's not a "doctored" version of events presenting the family in the way they want to be remembered. Because you have injected enough of "Shane Coates" interpretation and knowledge of the transport industry to make it appear more objective, more "true"

On a historical interest note: I think the chapter on the war against transport could be expanded into a whole book. That is a fascinating insight into Australian history, especially the tyranny of living in such an enormous landmass and the problems it presented. The court cases and the legal reasoning must be amazing.

I hope the Dyer family is truly grateful to you: they should be. Your chronicle is kind and generous but honest and without obsequiousness.


Review by Andrew Higginson

“I recently had the privilege of reading “As Fate Would Have It”, the official story on the Dyer family and their journey both as a transport business and also as a family looking to cope with generational and succession planning challenges over the last 100 years. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and found Shane Coates writing style appealing and an easy and interesting read.

The book is structured in an interesting and entertaining way and it’s what I’d term “a very good read”. I particularly liked “living” the challenges experienced by the pioneers of the road transport industry in Australia – it seems that some things don’t change!”

Andrew Higginson


Review by Paul Sullivan

Shane isn’t your typical journo-for-hire because for him writing is not just a job. He throws himself boots and all in the subject. He understands the people, the characters, their history, emotions and the culture before putting pen to paper. He writes with honesty, compassion and a little poetry about the unsung heroes who keep Australia moving.

“As Fate Would Have It” is a colourful story, which captures the tears of sweat, joy and despair that come with running trucks. Read it and enjoy the journey

Paul Sullivan