They made Macks great in ‘88

Deals on Wheels - - Driver Profile -

‘Kings­ford Smith’ was one of 16 Mack Su­per-Liner II lim­ited edi­tion trucks re­leased to mark Aus­tralia’s bi­cen­te­nary in 1988.

Each was named af­ter a fa­mous Aus­tralian.

They fea­tured cruise con­trol, colour tele­vi­sions and re­frig­er­a­tors. Th­ese fea­tures were con­sid­ered state-of-the-art lux­u­ries back in 1988.

Named af­ter the fa­mous Aus­tralian avi­a­tor, the Kings­ford Smith was built for Jim Ris­tovichis of Kyabram. Jim tells Deals on Wheels he owned it for eight weeks but gave it back to Mack be­cause they didn’t want him to paint it in his fleet colours.

The sec­ond owner was Grant Haynes of De­niliquin. His driver Pe­ter Clark says the Kings­ford Smith only had 1200km on the clock when he first drove it from De­niliquin to Syd­ney.

Pho­tos in Pe­ter’s fam­ily al­bum cap­ture a time when the Kings­ford Smith was barely recog­nis­able. The alu­minium wheels in Pe­ter’s pho­to­graphs are orig­i­nal – it was the only Bi­cen­ten­nial Mack not fit­ted with spi­der wheels. But the colour scheme was al­tered and the name ‘Kings­ford Smith’ was painted over.

Pe­ter ex­plains the back fuel tanks were re­moved so the truck could legally carry more milk through Maru­lan, but this af­fected the ride. “It made it a lot rougher. It bounced in the rear end more than it did with the four tanks.”

He is happy the truck is now owned by Mack col­lec­tor Tony Cham­pion of Rock­hamp­ton, Queens­land. Tony bought it from well-known Mack en­thu­si­ast Jon Kelly. One of the pre­vi­ous own­ers re­placed the alu­minium wheels with spi­der wheels which are still on the truck to­day.

“It looks brand new,” Tony says. “It’s in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion.”

COMMER

Pe­ter’s truck­ing ca­reer be­gan in the mid-1950s when he spent about six months cart­ing live­stock and grain in an old petrol mo­tor Commer for John Wil­son of Tul­lakool, NSW.

In 1956 he be­gan driv­ing a Bed­ford for Lan­di­nis of Wakool. He carted cat­tle and sheep as far as Mel­bourne. “Then we’d come home and take the stock crates off, and wash the floor, put a load of wool on and take that to the wool stores in Mel­bourne.”

Later he moved to Dar­ling­ton Point near Grif­fith to cart tim­ber to Mel­bourne for Fitz­patricks. In about 1964 the Clarks moved to Wakool and

Pe­ter again carted stock for Lan­di­nis.

In the early years of their mar­riage, Mary en­joyed trav­el­ling with Pe­ter in the Deutz and Commer. Their daugh­ter Tracy trav­elled with them in a bassinet.

Mary re­mem­bers the ex­cite­ment of hear­ing the Deutz ap­proach­ing their Wakool home. Their dog Patty was al­ways the first to hear it. Then lit­tle Tracy would recog­nise the sound and say ‘Here’s Daddy in his Deutz, Mum’.

Pe­ter was work­ing on a farm at Cald­well,

NSW, when their sec­ond daugh­ter, Jodie, was born. They re­turned to De­niliquin when Pe­ter found work with Lum­bars. Pe­ter carted grain to Mel­bourne and re­turned to De­niliquin with gen­eral freight.

In 1975 Pe­ter started work­ing with Rice­grow­ers. For 22 years he carted rice to De­niliquin from Fin­ley, Jer­ilderie, Moulamein, Coleam­bally, and Eulo in a ro­bust bulk tanker cus­tom made by Epex.

He took on a sec­ond job in the late 1980s. Af­ter cart­ing rice all week he spent the week­end in Grant Haynes’ fa­mous Bi­cen­ten­nial Mack Su­perLiner, pulling a milk tanker from De­niliquin to Syd­ney.

Rice­grow­ers made Pe­ter re­dun­dant in about 1997 and he spent the last years of his ca­reer cart­ing fuel for Lum­bars in a Western Star.

VIG­I­LANCE

Through­out his long ca­reer, Pe­ter main­tained an ex­cel­lent driv­ing record and is proud he never at­tracted any de­merit points. “I used to wear my mir­rors out,” he says, ex­plain­ing his decades of safe driv­ing.

Pe­ter re­tired 15 years ago and now en­joys mak­ing wrought iron seats and trav­el­ling to truck shows. The De­niliquin Truck Show is one of his favourites.

When Deals on Wheels vis­ited Pe­ter last month he was cel­e­brat­ing news that his nom­i­na­tion for in­duc­tion to the Na­tional Road Trans­port Hall of Fame at Alice Springs had been suc­cess­ful. He was nom­i­nated by his friend Ian Holschier.

Pe­ter’s health pre­vented him trav­el­ling to Alice Springs for the in­duc­tion. He doesn’t blame his back pain on the years he spent shov­el­ling gravel on and off trucks, lump­ing bags of wheat or cut­ting posts with an axe. He be­lieves the pain is be­cause of the “40 odd years” he sat in the driver’s seat with a wal­let in his back pocket.

Look­ing back, Pe­ter says he en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment of his truck­ing ca­reer.

“I loved it. There wasn’t a day I didn’t want to go to work.”

1. The Bi­cen­ten­nial Mack Su­per-Liner II ‘Kings­ford Smith’. Pe­ter Clark used it to pull a milk tanker from De­niliquin to Syd­ney when it was owned by Grant Haynes 2. The Kings­ford Smith has been re­stored and is now owned by Tony Cham­pion of Rock­hamp­ton....

4. Pe­ter drove this Commer for Lan­di­nis of Wakool in the late 1950s 5. A load of tim­ber on Fitzpatrick’s In­ter­na­tional R190 in the early 1960s 6. Pe­ter’s last job was cart­ing fuel in this Western Star for Lum­bars 7. Pe­ter spent 22 years pulling this...

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