crawlin’ the hume

Thou­sands of peo­ple lined old sec­tions of the Hume High­way to ad­mire over 235 his­toric trucks as they rum­bled through Vic­to­rian towns long-by­passed from High­way 31. Ta­mara Whitsed speaks with the drivers who crawled the Hume

Deals on Wheels - - News & Reviews -

When 235 his­toric trucks trav­elled the old Hume High­way from Melbourne to Al­bury in April, the ca­ma­raderie was as much a fea­ture of the run as the trucks them­selves.

Crawlin’ the Hume is a bi­en­nial truck run which unites old high­way run­ners and truck en­thu­si­asts of all ages. The trucks left Camp­bell­field, on Melbourne’s north, early on Satur­day morn­ing, April 16.

Thou­sands of peo­ple waited along the old high­way to greet the Ken­worths, Internationals, Macks, Dodges, Whites, Peter­bilts, Volvos, Fords, Mercedes, Atkin­sons, Reos, Bed­fords, Com­mers, Chevro­lets, Di­a­mond Ts, Austins, Stude­bak­ers and Fo­dens.

One of the old­est trucks was David Daws’ 1923 Mack AC which he car­ried be­hind his 1961 Mack B61. David says it would have been im­prac­ti­cal to drive the AC on the old Hume. “It only does about 15km/h flat out, so it’d be a pretty long trip from Craigieburn to Al­bury. I’d be the snail on the road.”

Brian Smith’s 1923 Ford TT was the old­est truck to make the jour­ney un­der its own steam – or rather its own fuel. “I dropped the coil out of it and then I popped an­other coil in it and away it went – didn’t miss a beat,” Brian says. “It cost me about 10 min­utes.”

Brian’s T Model has now com­pleted three Crawlin’ the Humes and two Haulin’ the Humes.

A 1926 T Model Ford also con­quered this year’s run. Its owner, Ray Smith of Rochester, says driv­ing his T Model over Pretty Sally in top gear was the highlight of the week­end. His Ford reached a top speed of 65km/h for a while on some of the flat­ter straights. This was the first time Ray had taken part in the event.

Trucks had to be 25 years or older to reg­is­ter. Some of the younger trucks, like Norm Corn­foot’s 1985 SAR Gold Nugget Ken­worth SAR, were im­pres­sive blinged-up rep­re­sen­ta­tions of their era. (The SAR is Num­ber 28 of the 30 lim­ited edi­tion Gold Nuggets.)


Chris Dar­win’s 1986 Ken­worth SAR is un­re­stored and dis­plays its wear and tear like a badge of hon­our. “All I’ve done is pol­ish it and made it shiny,” he says. “That’s all I’m go­ing to do. It’s still got stone chips and it’s just the per­fect ex­am­ple of a good work­ing truck.”

The Cum­mins Big Cam 400 was in great con­di­tion when Chris pur­chased the SAR from Babinda in Far North Queens­land last year. It was orig­i­nally a Finemore truck.

“It’s got two hatches in the bon­net which only

Finemores had,” Chris says. “So you don’t have to chuck the bon­net up to check the oil and the wa­ter.” The fea­ture seems un­nec­es­sary – Chris rarely needs to top up the oil or wa­ter.

Gra­ham Wright’s 1965 In­ter­na­tional AB 184D stood out among the many re­cently re­stored trucks. He bought the truck in 2014 and fin­ished restor­ing it last Septem­ber. Then he turned his at­ten­tion to a 1965 McGrath trailer. “This is the maiden voy­age for the truck and trailer,” Gra­ham says.

The trucks trav­elled from Camp­bell­field to Win­ton in the morn­ing, fol­low­ing the old

Hume where pos­si­ble. Af­ter pass­ing through Wal­lan they climbed Pretty Sally and con­tin­ued on through Broad­ford, Tal­la­rook, Sey­mour, Man­ga­lore, Avenel, Lock­sley, Long­wood, Euroa, Vi­o­let Town, Baddagin­nie and Be­nalla.

The lunch break at Win­ton Mo­tor Race­way gave truck en­thu­si­asts a close-up look at the ve­hi­cles and an op­por­tu­nity to speak with drivers.

When Gor­don Rus­sell of Co­lac parked his

1963 In­ter­na­tional R190 at Win­ton its dis­tinc­tive shade of blue (it’s ac­tu­ally called ‘pea­cock green’) at­tracted the at­ten­tion of Josh Porker of Mil­dura. Josh was at the race­way to race mo­tor­bikes, but from a dis­tance he recog­nised Gor­don’s In­ter­na­tional as the truck his fa­ther and grand­fa­ther had driven dur­ing his child­hood. Gor­don was thrilled about the co­in­ci­den­tal meet­ing and proud to show Josh the re­stored truck.

Max Pol­lard, 74, drove his re­stored In­ter­na­tional R200 which car­ried a 1929 Chev. It was a drive down mem­ory lane for Max who spent 50 years driv­ing trucks.


Rex Shiel of Kil­syth was in his el­e­ment wan­der­ing around the trucks at Win­ton. The 89-yearold drove trucks for more than 60 years for com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Panuc­cis, Bram­bles and Cootes. Dur­ing his ca­reer he spent time in many of the makes and mod­els he saw over the week­end. He en­joyed talk­ing with old high­way mates.

Ge­orge Goold of Bribie Is­land and De­nis Robert­son of Syd­ney trav­elled to­gether in Ge­orge’s K Se­ries Ken­worth which car­ried two of Ge­orge’s Di­a­mond T 630s.

One had been re­stored in Op­per­mans Trans­port colours, and the other in Cro­mack & Tran­ter colours.

While 235 trucks were of­fi­cially reg­is­tered, some es­ti­mates have the num­ber of trucks at Win­ton closer to 285.

Af­ter lunch the trucks con­tin­ued along the old Hume to Al­bury. At Wan­garatta, Canny Car­ry­ing Co’s 1956 In­ter­na­tional AS 160, driven by David Con­nor, was a lo­cal favourite.

A her­itage fes­ti­val at Chiltern co­in­cided with the his­toric truck run.

Crawlin’ the Hume was or­gan­ised by Rob French, Roger Marchetti and Trevor Davis, with as­sis­tance from vol­un­teers who helped on the day. Rob trav­elled to Al­bury with Dar­rell Kil­lick in Dar­rell’s 1969 W Model Ken­worth which pulled a trailer bor­rowed from a sim­i­lar New South Wales event, Haulin’ the Hume.

“It was great to be a pas­sen­ger on the high­way and have a good look around and have a lot of fun and laughs with an­other old truckie,” says Rob who drove his 1964 Peter­bilt 351 in pre­vi­ous Crawls.

Roger had hoped to drive his White Road Com­man­der and is dis­ap­pointed the restora­tion was not fin­ished in time. He trav­elled as a pas­sen­ger in other his­toric trucks.

Trevor drove his brand new Isuzu which car­ried his re­stored 1927 In­ter­na­tional SL-34.

The run fin­ished at Al­bury Rac­ing Club where 280 peo­ple dis­cussed high­lights of the suc­cess­ful day over din­ner.

Re­tired trans­port op­er­a­tor and for­mer Al­bury

Mayor, Arch McLeish, was a fas­ci­nat­ing guest speaker.

Early on Sun­day morn­ing the trucks were dis­played for the public at Al­bury Rac­ing

Club while drivers en­joyed break­fast and pre­sen­ta­tions.

Deals On Wheels found Ian Cas­tles climb­ing back into his Ken­worth, ready to cart his 1931 Chev and 1948 KB11 In­ter­na­tional re­cov­ery ve­hi­cle back to Five Ways.

“Ev­ery­body just had a mag­nif­i­cent time,” he says, sum­ming up the week­end. He was pleased to see “wives and chil­dren and grand­chil­dren” at the fam­ily event. “All credit goes to the or­gan­is­ers be­cause it takes a lot of work to put it all to­gether.”

Bruce Gunter and his fa­ther Ge­off trav­elled in their re­stored 1957 Com­mer Knocker. It was their idea to hold the first Haulin’ the Hume from Syd­ney to Yass in 2011. This was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the first Crawlin’ the Hume in 2012.

Bruce and his ded­i­cated com­mit­tee have be­gun plan­ning the fourth Haulin’ the Hume which will be held in NSW on April 1 and 2, 2017.

And an­other Crawlin’ the Hume is planned for Vic­to­ria in 2018. De­tails of both runs will be posted in Owner//Driver’s events di­ary as they be­come avail­able.

Above: Brian Hodge’s B Model Mack car­ry­ing a GMC through Chiltern.

1. Gra­ham Wright won many ad­mir­ers when he took his In­ter­na­tional AB 180 with a 1965 McGrath trailer on its first run since its restora­tion was com­pleted. 2. Trevor Davis with his re­stored 1927 In­ter­na­tional SL-34.

3. Brian Smith drove his 1923 Ford TT all the way from Camp­bell­field to Al­bury. 4. David Daws’ 1923 Mack AC

be­hind his 1961 Mack B61. 4




5. Rob French trav­elled to Al­bury with Dar­rell Kil­lick in Dar­rell’s 1969 W Model Ken­worth which pulled the trailer bor­rowed from Haulin’ the Hume.

6. Trevor Ell­wood and his

White 4000.

7. Ge­off and Bruce Gunter.

The fa­ther and son in­sti­gated Haulin’ the Hume which in­spired Crawlin’ the Hume.

8. Ge­orge Goold of Bribie Is­land and De­nis Robert­son of Syd­ney trav­elled to­gether in Ge­orge’s K Se­ries Ken­worth which car­ried two of his well­known Di­a­mond T 630s. 7




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