Our community

Spotlight on John Dilger

Nestled in the heart of Queenstown, Dilgers Central Garage stands as a testament to a family’s enduring legacy in Tasmania’s west coast.

For 92 years, the Dilger family has been a cornerstone of the community, starting with Don Dilger, who opened the garage in 1932. This story isn’t just about a business; it’s a tale of four generations of dedication, including as RACT-contracted patrolmen, evolving with the times yet remaining steadfast in their commitment.

Imagine Tasmania in the 1930s: a landscape where the concept of a mobile phone was as distant as the moon. In those days, when a motorist broke down, they were at the mercy of the elements and the rare passing vehicle. John Dilger, reflecting on his father and grandfather’s era, paints a vivid picture: “When people broke down on the road, they just had to sit and wait and hope that someone came past and gave them a ride in or someone went out to them. It was all hours of the day and night.”

Over the years, the landscape and methods of assistance have evolved. “It’s a bit easier to move around now. The highways are quicker, and the cars are quicker,” says John.

From repairing push bikes to servicing cars and running service stations, the journey of Dilgers Central Garage mirrors the evolution of transportation itself. John’s father, joining the family business at 12, set a precedent of dedication, a tradition John proudly continued in the early ’80s. Today, the legacy lives on with John’s sons and nephews, ensuring that the family’s commitment to the community endures.

The affiliation with RACT has woven the Dilger family into a broader network, a community of support and shared values. John describes this connection with warmth, “We feel a part of a network, like a community. We do help each other out,” emphasising the benefits of RACT affiliation.

For John, being a patrolman is more than a job; it’s a calling. “It’s rewarding to get people back on the road again and get them out of a pickle,” he says.

As we celebrate RACT’s centenary, we look to individuals like John Dilger, whose stories of service, community and family weave into the rich tapestry of our history.