Aussies pull to­gether haul­ing

We ride with the hay run­ners

Big Rigs - - NEWS - TRUCKIN’ ON THE BOR­DER

IT’S mid-morn­ing the eve of Aus­tralia day and the tem­per­a­ture is climb­ing, dust and a mix of hay sur­round a con­voy of trucks lined up in south­ern New South Wales as they are loaded for the Bur­rum­but­tock Hay Run.

A pure act of Aussie mate­ship this, the 13th run, is charged with the task of de­liv­er­ing do­na­tions of hay and feed to drought-stricken farm­ers, with the 2018 run head­ing to Cun­na­mulla in south­west Queens­land.

Un­der the cloud­less sky and slowly in­ten­si­fy­ing sun, Bur­rum­but­tock’s Ge­of­fro Amarant is op­er­at­ing a JCB tele­han­dler, deftly pick­ing up large square bales of straw and load­ing them, with the yard a flurry of ac­tiv­ity as trucks are shifted and straps thrown and tight­ened.

Matt Reeve is do­ing his first hay run and has come down from Syd­ney in his Mercedes Benz and flat-top trailer to take part and pulls his truck out to strap down, with the fi­nal truck to be loaded pulling into his place.

Within 20 min­utes the job is done and a mini-con­voy of five trucks is as­sem­bled in the pad­dock, in­clud­ing Ge­of­fro’s Kenworth T401, and BHR or­gan­iser Bren­dan Far­rell’s Kenworth T600, which will be driven to Cun­na­mulla by Jessica Ed­wards, bet­ter known to all and sundry as Jil­la­roo Jess.

All the other trucks ex­cept Ge­of­fro’s head out to the meet up with the rest of the con­voy at Dar­ling­ton Point, whilst Ge­of­fro loads the tele­han­dler and an­other trac­tor on his quad float which will be pulled by his Kenworth T909.

With the late af­ter­noon ar­rival of driver Paul Betts who will steer the T401, the two Amarant Truck­ing ve­hi­cles head off into the twi­light, pulling into Dar­ling­ton Point around 10pm and the overnight stop at the golf club.

Pre-dawn on Aus­tralia Day and the park­ing area is a hive of ac­tiv­ity as trucks are pre­pared to head out the gates and onto the Kid­man Way for the 816 kilo­me­tre trip to Cun­na­mulla.

Al­most ev­ery ve­hi­cle is adorned with an Aus­tralian flag, green and gold ban­ner and in some cases an in­flat­able box­ing kan­ga­roo has been af­fixed to the bull­bar or tail­gate - a mag­nif­i­cent sight.

Walk­ing around it is a truck-spot­ter’s de­light, with trucks vary­ing from cur­rent model Western Stars, Freight­lin­ers and Mercedes Benz through to older clas­sic In­ter­na­tional Transtars, W-Model

An im­pres­sive ar­ray of trucks lined up on ar­rival at the Cun­na­mulla Show­grounds.

PHO­TOS: DAVID VILE

AUSSIE PRIDE: Head­ing out to de­liver to a prop­erty out­side Cun­na­mulla.

LOAD­ING: David Vile throws a strap while Matt Reeve looks on.

WORK: Un­load­ing in the heat at Cun­na­mulla.

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