Lights, trucks, action
Lights on the hill memorial convoy
Wilkins was beaming with the large turnout of trucks, drivers, their families and friends. The fine weather was an added bonus.
“We’ve got a helluva lot of people here, not a cloud in the sky, great music, great atmosphere, a great mob of drivers and our camping ground is choc-a-bloc,” Kerry smiles. “There’s not much more we could ask for.”
The Saturday convoy was followed by top-line country music entertainers, a Sunday memorial at the Lights On The Hill wall at Gatton’s Lake Apex Park, before a return to the track for more music plus the NRL Grand Final shown live on the huge screen, supplied by Big Screens Australia. In addition, cameras were placed strategically along the Warrego Highway, so those who arrived early on the Saturday could view the convoys’ progress on the big screen before they rolled into Gatton.
This year the twin convoys’ Warrego Highway departure points were moved closer towards Gatton in a bid to keep the trucks together. Hence, the westbound convoy’s origin was the Citiswich Industrial Park at Bundamba, while the eastbound convoy began from the industrial area at Roches Road, Withcott.
A Lockyer Valley Shire Council-owned Mack tipper bearing a tribute to Steve Jones led the eastbound convoy, arriving at the Gatton Racecourse well before the K.S. Easter-led westbound convoy.
Councillor Janice Holstein from the Lockyer Valley Regional Council was among those who took part in the convoy. Usually a spectator in other years, this time she hitched a ride in one of Steve Greer’s trucks.
“That was a bit of buzz to drive from Withcott down to Gatton in a big long line of trucks,”
Janice says, adding that she was unsure of what make and model of truck she was in.
“It was a cab-over I know because it was a little bit rough,” she laughs.
Looking around at the huge crowd and truck line-up, Councillor Holstein believes events such as Lights On The Hill are a positive thing for the industry.
“I think it’s fabulous to see truck drivers getting together to celebrate with each other and then remember those they are lost,” she says.
“Most of them know each other and look out for each other, and I think that’s one of the good things about the trucking industry.
“They’re very important to Australia and I don’t know what we’d do without them.
“Council is pretty happy to work with Lights On The Hill because it draws people into our region and they spend money here which is a great thing for us,” the councillor continues.
“And they also see that the Lockyer Valley is a really good place to live, so hopefully we’ll see some of those drivers decide to relocate to the Lockyer Valley, because there’s nowhere better,” she smiles. “It’s so much nicer than living in a city.”
The October long weekend appears cemented in place for future Lights On The Hill convoys, the cooler temperatures receiving the thumbs up from organisers and participants. However, whether the convoys return to the racetrack remains unanswered.
“This is a great venue, and we’ve changed a lot of things this year,” Kerry Wilkins says.
“There could be a lot more done to improve our entry and exit here, but I’d love to turn this into it permanently, but of course that’s the council’s decision.
“The late mayor had a new venue for us to go to and set up, but sadly he passed away before it came to fruition,” Kerry says.
“We were fortunate enough to be offered this position, and we just wanted to make this one right, and we’ll move on and worry about the next one next year.”
1. Wickham’s are regular Lights On The Hill supporters.
2. Leigh Bowdler (left) from the UK, and Esmee De Wit from the Netherlands had already paid a visit to the Lights On The Hill Memorial at Lake Apex Park before convoy day. “We are currently living in Gatton and work for a farm that uses the Nolan’s trucks to transport products in and out, so we thought we’d come and see what’s going on,” Leigh says.
3. Nolan’s heritage on show. 4. Lockyer Valley Regional
Councillor Janice Holstein. 3