Thiess Toyota Australia

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Long ago TLCA# 2231
Jun 17, 2005
UpState Ny, Wells Me
I think its a good time to write up about the originator of the Toyota Land Cruiser in Australia.

The person that lead the charge was "Sir Leslie Thiess"

1958 Les Thiess secured 13 land cruisers in an initial shipment, “most” of which worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme but not all.

Sir Leslie Thiess, head of Thiess Constructions, was impressed by the “privately imported Land Cruisers” working on his Tumut Ponds site.

Sir Les Thiess went over to Japan in a visit to Japan’s coal and steel companies as well as looking into the purchase of US Army surplus equipment. Thiess Company which was Thiess Holdings Limited a very large company working on construction as well as coal mining had authorized the purchase of this equipment. While there he was in a sense selling coal to many different Japanese steel mills.

While in Japan he talked to Toyota president Eiji Toyoda directly. Against the advice of the Thiess Holdings Board he put up $40,000 of his own money and ordered 25 and secured distributor rights in 07/1959.

From Toyota: "The Thiess Brothers Sales Corperation and Distributer of Australia went into contract in 07/1959."

Before the years end in 59, dealers had been appointed in 22 centers throughout the state this interest had exceeded Les’s expectations.

The Land Cruiser product went on sale in the Australian market through Thiess (sales) Pty Ltd. with the 1st shipment of 25 vehicles. This is the "First Toyota Land Cruiser sold in Australia" slogan comes into play.
A quote from Senator HERRON (Queensland) in reference to "Sir Les Thiess".

"I, too, wish to pay tribute to Sir Leslie Thiess. I wish to speak of another aspect of Sir Les Thiess. He was an extraordinary individual, the likes of whom will not be seen again, I think, in our lifetimes. He had the opportunity after the Second World War arose and he did so much for Queensland that will be a monument to him that will last long after all of us have passed through this world.

I want to speak about Les Thiess as a family man. I first met him in my professional capacity as a surgeon. He was an extraordinarily strong individual. He came from a large family, he had a large family and, above all else, he was a strong family man. He was a man of great generosity and he distributed that generosity in many ways. I am sure that much of the maligning of Les Thiess came about because of this generosity and because of his friendship and his ability to give to his friends the help or assistance that at times they might need.

I, too, am in sympathy with the family he leaves behind, in particular Thelma Driscoll and Kevin Driscoll, both very close friends of mine who are also great Queenslanders. I extend the sympathy of the Senate to the remaining members of that family as well. I want to join with Senator Bjelke-Petersen and Senator Boswell in their tribute to Sir Leslie and the condolences we all extend to the family. "
a bit more information:

from: Toyota LandCruiser 78 Series Press Kit

Toyota's LandCruiser won its place in the Australian motoring scene in an evolution which paralleled that of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme where it made its first impact in 1958.

Sir Leslie Thiess of Thiess Contractors first commissioned the use of 13 LandCruisers to assist with the Tooma-Tumut tunnel contract his company had won.

By 1960 the Snowy Mountains Scheme was 80 percent complete and the demands made on the vehicles working there had changed.

"A majority of the roads had become well established and in reasonable condition," said English-born Bert Knowles, head of the Scheme's Base Workshops in Cooma at the time.

"The LandCruisers played a major offroad role in building the Snowy Mountains Scheme, but also set new standards by combining highway and four wheel drive capabilities.

"The Toyota LandCruiser provided sedan-like ride and comfort on the bitumen and then coped extremely well when the going got tougher in the mountains," Mr Knowles said.

"Its smooth highway performance did not compromise its four wheel drive capabilities."

The first LandCruiser purchased by the Snowy Mountains Authority was used by works supervisor and safety officer Les White.

"Les is well over six feet tall and was renowned for being extremely hard on vehicles," Mr Knowles said.

"Providing him with a new make was a good test. Not only did the LandCruisers cope, they forged a formidable reputation for reliability.

"I don't recall one ever having serious mechanical problems."

Over 80 Toyota LandCruisers, Prados and RAV4 now operate throughout the Scheme.

Toyota Australia is a major sponsor of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme's 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
Thiess Sales (Hayes Road, Rosebery, N.S.W.)


Search - Manuscripts, Oral History, and Pictures Catalogue - State Library of New South Wales
x2 on the nice :cool:

Did you see that other one that was for sale (Toyota Landcruiser Collectable Restoration FJ 45 1960? - eBay, Restoration, Salvage, Cars, Cars, Bikes, Boats. (end time 04-Apr-09 11:29:44 AEDST)) it sold for $1100 USD :eek: I guess it is a sore spot for me, as the only "gems" I can find up here are $2000 +, and that is for basically a bucket of rust that needs LOTS of help. This was what, a 28, or a very early 25? Like I mentioned in another thread, I am not into RHD's, but had it been a lefty......oh well, never mind, vent over :frown:
I have been going thru and finding alot of thiess pics online...most of which are from the website referenced above...but...websites come and go...and files get lost...sooo... i will post up what i have so far ;)

thiess brothers areo pic

and a 1959 fj25...BTW check out the hubcaps

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