Ray's Flying High on the Success Trail

(Extract from The Leisureline 1975)

Scene: Ray Dickeson's office, in Adelaide.

Time: 4 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon.

The telephone rings. It is one of the few service calls received at this office. The person reporting says they have a machine out of order and Ray says it is too late this evening, but it will be done the following morning. Nothing strange so far - except that the service call is from Alice Springs, 1,000 miles North.

The following morning at first light, Ray is at the Parafield Aerodrome, preparing his Seneca twin-engine air-craft for a flight to Alice Springs to carry out the service call. Fortunately, service calls this distance from home base are few, but nevertheless are treated with the same urgency as a local service call.

This has always been the policy of Ray Dickeson.

Ray originated in Mildura, Victoria and grew up on his parent's vineyard. His parents subsequently sold the vineyard and it was at this juncture that Ray branched into dairy farming. He remained in this industry for five years.

The next stage in Ray's career was as a milk-bar proprietor in Mildura. Some time after he bought the milk-bar, several of his regular customers pestered him to install a juke box. At this time (1956) there were no operators in the Mildura area, Ray therefore had to purchase a juke box for 800 pounds. Little did he know at the time that this would also be the start of a new career for him. He subsequently sold the milk bar, but the purchasers could not afford the price he wanted for the juke box, so he left it on the location paying a commission.

With the sales of the milk bar completed in Mildura, Ray decided to come to Adelaide in 1958 to start off a new venture. The coin-operated amusement industry in South Australia was extremely small, but he saw the potential in Adelaide and started building up an operation which now stretched from Robinvale and Mildura in Victoria, down to Mount Gambier, across to Port Lincoln and Ceduna in the west and as far north as Tennant Creek.

The total mileage covered in collections and servicing of equipment exceeds a quarter of a million miles per year. It has always been his policy to operate good equipment and good service. It does not matter if a service call comes from a metropolitan location or a mission station in the far north, they are given the same priority, service within 24 hours.

Ray has always been interested in an active operator's association in South Australia and has held the position of president for three years.