— Ken­worth T904

Owner Driver - - News - Peter and Di Sch­lenk write

TROY MCLEAN spent 13 years work­ing as a driver but al­ways had the de­sire to have a truck he could call his own.

That fi­nally hap­pened 13 years ago. Nowa­days he’s do­ing runs in a 2008 Ken­worth T908.

“I first looked at buy­ing my own truck when I was around 21 or 22 years of age,” Troy re­calls. “Things didn’t come to­gether back then and I got talked out of it. Any­way, the op­por­tu­nity arose so I jumped at it.

“We had looked at be­ing owner-driv­ers a cou­ple of times and hadn’t made the move.

“My wife Jackie said that if I didn’t do it this time, not to talk about it again. I think Jackie had had enough.”

That first truck, a 1994 Ford LTL Ken­tucky, had a 425 Cat un­der the bon­net. Then, through word of mouth, Troy heard of a busi­ness that was seek­ing an op­er­a­tor to cart plas­ter­board.

He did his first trip as an owner-driver and, pulling up in front of the com­pany’s fac­tory, ap­proached man­age­ment af­ter he’d heard they were look­ing for some­one to do their cartage. He has been with them ever since.

Troy, how­ever, had his heart set on a Ken­worth, so the LTL was traded in on a K104 Aero­dyne. This was joined by a new West­ern Star truck and dog tip­per unit.

Un­der the name of TJ & JJ McClean, the cou­ple em­ployed a driver that Troy put to work on the build­ing the Calder Free­way ex­ten­sion to Bendigo.

Even­tu­ally, a sec­ond Aero­dyne joined the fleet but Troy de­cided to con­sol­i­date and go af­ter the truck he al­ways wanted. He sold the two Aero­dynes and West­ern Star and bought a T908.

It has a Cum­mins ISX EGR set at 620hp up front, with an 18-speed man­ual gear­box with the rear end rid­ing on Ken­worth’s 8-bag air sus­pen­sion.

Troy lives at Camp­bell’s Creek near Castle­maine and uses the 908 to pull a taut­liner, do­ing ei­ther one or two trips a day be­tween Bendigo and Mel­bourne.

“I had al­ways been work­ing to­wards get­ting a ‘9-0’. I just wanted that long bon­net,” he says. “It’s as good as I thought it would be. I just love it and it’s beau­ti­ful to op­er­ate, a real driver’s truck.”

The T908 is im­pec­ca­bly pre­sented and looks brand

new, Troy ad­mit­ting it’s fairly well pam­pered. It gets washed and pol­ished reg­u­larly, with ei­ther Troy clean­ing it him­self or son Bradley help­ing out.

Troy says Bradley, an ap­pren­tice panel beater, is ab­so­lutely “truck mad”. It’s a real fam­ily af­fair, with Jackie han­dling all the book­work.

“I’ve never re­ally done any of that side of it,” Troy ad­mits. “Jackie has al­ways looked af­ter the of­fice work. I just come home and put the dock­ets on the bench and she does the rest. She is the big­gest as­set I have.”

With the T908 look­ing the goods, it was a no-brainer to take it to last year’s Ro­tary Castle­maine Truck Show: “Jackie said as long as we’ve got a truck, it’ll be at our local truck show.”


Castle­maine has al­ways been a truck town, es­pe­cially when Troy was grow­ing up. Back then there were the likes of Par­son’s Trans­port, Leeches, McClure’s, Thomp­son’s and Cas­tle Ba­con all run­ning fleets out of Castle­maine.

Both Troy’s father, Roger, and grand­fa­ther, Max, were truck driv­ers – Max owned his own rig, a But­ter­box ACCO tray truck.

“I was pretty much born into it,” Troy ex­plains. “I’ve been in and around trucks my whole life.

“Max was a local car­rier and would cart rail­way sleep­ers, slate and gran­ite down to Mel­bourne.

“Dad started out in ce­ment mix­ers and tip­pers. He later drove a fuel tanker and I would go with him all the time.”

Roger later drove for Leeches, Troy help­ing to wash and pol­ish his truck. Troy was around 10 years old when he snared a week­end job at Par­son’s, wash­ing the trucks and later greas­ing and ser­vic­ing.

“Dur­ing school hol­i­days, I would go in­ter­state with David Par­sons. As long as I can re­mem­ber, I was go­ing to drive trucks. That was it, so I don’t know any­thing dif­fer­ent and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says. “I still love it to this day.”


Af­ter leav­ing school, Troy stepped up his work with Leeches, do­ing main­te­nance and load­ing trail­ers.

“They gave me a start and I ran from Castle­maine to Bendigo and Mel­bourne when I got my li­cence.”

As he was only 18, Troy was only al­lowed to drive a ra­dius of 250km, but he wanted more.

Leeches man­aged to gain an ex­emp­tion so Troy could do 750km and do runs over to Ade­laide.

“The first truck I drove was a lit­tle day cab S-2 Ken­worth that Leeches still has. It has a 692 Detroit in it. It felt like a big truck back then, like you were king of the road.”

With the ex­pe­ri­ence gained in the yard, Troy was well cre­den­tialed be­hind the wheel. “As far as tarp­ing goes, I would still get rid of my taut­liner and have a flat top with a tarp," he says.

"There is some­thing very spe­cial about a good tarped load, … it’s got char­ac­ter.”

It’s been a fan­tas­tic jour­ney for Troy, es­pe­cially with the whole fam­ily right be­hind him.

“I think Jackie knew what she signed up for the day we met,” Troy smiles. “She is bril­liant, ab­so­lutely bril­liant. I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter per­son to have by my side.”

Troy McLean’s 2008 T908 is kept in pris­tine con­di­tion

The McLean clan: daugh­ter Michelle, son Bradley, daugh­ter Sarah, Troy and Jackie McLean

Troy McLean’s daugh­ters Michelle (left) and Sarah help out with the truck pol­ish­ing

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