Trucking is Bobbin business
BASED at Pambula on the Sapphire Coast region of New South Wales, the trucking operation started by Neville Bobbin with one truck 47 years ago, is today a thriving business with three generations of the Bobbin family (Neville, Brendon and Phil) actively involved in its operations.
Bobbins Transport trucks are a familiar sight on the highways of eastern Australia, hauling refrigerated and general freight, with the company’s foray into road transport starting out in the southern forests around Eden in 1970.
After a two-year stint driving trucks and operating a bulldozer around Jindabyne and Island Bend on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, Neville, along with wife Lyn, purchased a Perkins-powered AA-180 International to put to work hauling logs out of the bush to the Harris-Daishowa chip mill which had just been established on Eden’s Twofold Bay.
With Neville, now managing director, seeing an opportunity to move into landscaping supplies using mulch from the chip mill, the business moved away from log haulage into landscaping with the business expanding.
“We found that in Melbourne no-one would do their gardens in the footy season. Once that finished, the market for chip mulch would just boom,” Neville’s son Brendon said.
With a number of trucks running mulch and fertiliser, the company expanded into general and refrigerated haulage, with the acquisition of other operations, including Town’s Haulage of Eden along the way.
Its distinctive blue and silver colours, now a staple on the highway, were adopted from a Kenworth SAR purchased off Beer’s Abattoirs in Culcairn a number of years ago.
Since then those base colours have been retained with the design evolving into the distinctive pattern.
“We sat down one afternoon and we designed it – it took about 10 years to get it how you see it today and have them all looking the same,” Brendon said.
All Bobbins trucks have an American Bald Eagle adorning the sleeper, a personal touch of Neville’s which highlight the plight of America’s native bird.
“Brendon first put it on his Kenworth T900 but I was in North America in 1987 when there was only around 1000 bald eagles left in the wild,” Neville said.
Currently the Bobbins fleet numbers 28 prime movers and 12 rigids and more than 50 trailers, with a further 10 sub-contractors working out of the purposebuilt facility just off the Princes Highway at Pambula. With a focus today on refrigerated, general and brick transport, Bobbins trucks run up and down the coast to Sydney and Melbourne on daily line haul runs, with trucks also deployed to Brisbane and throughout inland Australia between the capitals.
With almost five decades in business, Bobbins Transport has become a large operation while still retaining a family focus.
Because of this tight-knit unit, Neville was able to move out of the driver’s seat into managing the fleet in the 1980s, with Brendon Bobbin overseeing the busy Pambula depot.
“Brendon’s been here since day one – as a young fella he used to help me re-line a set of brakes of a night-time here,” Neville said.
The third generation, Brendon’s son Phil ,is currently piloting a Kenworth T950 Legend on interstate with a B-double fridge van.
Grandsons Dylan and Connor work in the yard of a weekend, keeping the trucks immaculate.
With the recent arrival of Phil’s first child, Neville’s first great-grandson, a fourth generation involvement in transport is a definite possibility.
General operations are managed by Adam Twyford, who hails from a transport family in Bega.
“Adam grew up with trucks like Brendon did –his father worked trucks with us and now he’s been with us for nine years,” Neville said.
The company today employs more than 80 people, with the majority of drivers coming out of the Bega Valley/South Coast area but, as is the case in transport, drivers are becoming hard to find.
“We are running out of drivers,” Neville said.
“We need the younger ones coming on – we have the rigids here to start off with and bring them through
“Phil is a case in point, he started in a rigid and worked his way through and now he’s driving a B-double at 22 years of age.”
And his motto for the business and life: “You always look ahead – you can’t look behind”.
❝ As a young fella, he used to help me re-line a set of brakes of a night-time here.
(From left) operations manager Adam Twyford with Neville, Brendon and Phil Bobbin.
Even the mailbox is dressed in the Bobbins Transport colours.
Pride of the fleet – Bobbins Kenworth T950 outside the Pambula depot.