SPIRIT OF THE HUME
A new truck show on the truck calendar attracted about 70 trucks to Broadford to celebrate the Spirit of the Hume on February 18 and 19. Tamara Whitsed writes
THERE IS an air of relief as organisers of the Spirit of the Hume Truck Display assemble for a photograph.
They pose near Alan Taylor’s 1975 International TranStar 4070, glad for the mild February weather and pleased a good variety of trucks have made the journey to Broadford, Victoria.
“For a first-up event, I think it’s going really well,” says Alan, who is president of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club of Australia (HCVC).
The two-day display has attracted almost 90 vehicles, including about 70 trucks.
“I like the theme: Spirit of the Hume,” Alan says. “We’re right on the Hume here, and Broadford is one of the towns that you originally went through when you were running up and down the Hume.”
Broadford was bypassed from the Hume Highway in the mid-1970s.
Many of the brands of trucks which once rumbled through the town are represented at the display.
A few trucks date back to the 1920s – like Jeff Johnston’s 1929 Dodge.
Robert Parker from Seymour is patiently fielding questions about his 1929 Thornycroft A3, which he suspects is the only working Thornycroft A3 in Australia.
He bought the truck 10 years ago from historic Tongy Station at Uarbry, New South Wales.
“I’ve never seen another one going,” Robert says. “I’ve made lots of enquiries but I’ve never been able to find another one.”
The truck is the same model that Thornycroft donated for the 1929 Thornycroft Expedition, which recovered the bodies of two aviators who died in the Tanami desert in the Kookaburra tragedy.
“So that particular truck has got some significant historical value,” Robert says.
“It’s not the truck, but it’s exactly the same as that truck.”
Robert piggybacked the 1929 Thornycroft to Broadford behind his 1950 Thornycroft Trusty.
Peter Berry’s 1954 Albion spent its early years on the Hume, carting apples from a Doncaster orchard to Sydney. It took Peter three years to restore the Albion, and the Broadford display is the second show it has attended.
Bill Smith from Hi-Haul, Bayswater, has driven to Broadford in his restored 1961 Leyland Buffalo with its original Albion engine.
“It only does 70km an hour flat out,” Bill says.
“It took me two-and-a-quarter hours to come from Bayswater.”
He drove Leylands in the 1960s and, when he began looking for a truck to restore, he was excited to learn about the Buffalo which was sitting unused in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Bill purchased it 10 years ago and finished the restoration in 2015. He is happy to see a good collection of old English-badged trucks.
“Before the North American trucks took over, everything was English.” But he says the English engineers failed to keep up with the Americans, who saw the potential of the Australian market and “swooped on it”.
Among the dazzling American stars is Norm Cornfoot’s 1992 Kenworth T900 painted in the style of the Snowman’s Smokey and the Bandit truck. The rig’s trailer is even painted with the same stage coach robbery mural that appears on the trailer in the 1977 comedy.
Many trucks are beautifully restored, including Ken Keating’s International R200, which was restored by his son Mark Keating.
Truck lovers are also interested to see unrestored trucks like Jake Goodwin’s Autocar from the mid-1970s.
Paul Thomson’s 1970 Ford F8000 carted firewood on the Hume before Paul bought it in 2015.
It is shining so fiercely at the Broadford display that it is hard to believe Paul uses it to cart hay and cattle for his East Baynton farm.
TWO TASSIE TRUCKS
Two trucks have travelled all the way from Hobart. Paul Sutcliffe has brought his 1985 R Model Mack, and Ken Midson is standing beside his 1980 470B International TranStar II.
“Before the North American trucks took over, everything was English”
“It may be the only right-hand drive one in the world,” suggests Ken, who converted it after importing it from the United States in 2013.
Archie Baines owns one of several Macks at the show. He has named his 1964 B Model ‘Beatrice’. He also has a Dodge, an Austin A30, and three tractors at the show.
The Broadford resident is largely responsible for bringing Spirit of the Hume to the town. He enlisted Annette Chapman, Ash Chapman, Clive Smith and David Bell, who were all appointed to a subsidiary committee of the HCVC to organise the event.
Spirit of the Hume caters for young and old. Aspiring truckies, young Toby and Jack Johnston from Yea, are here to check out the trucks but they also enjoyed the jumping castle. Other kids love the pony rides.
Toe-tapping live music has been playing all weekend.
The organisers wanted to make it easy for disabled and elderly people to attend Spirit of the Hume.
Disabled toilets and showers are on site, and HCVC has made its buggy available to make sure no one misses out on seeing the trucks parked throughout the common.
“They can borrow it and go around to have a look at what they want to at the show,” Alan explains.
“Or else one of our blokes will put two or three of them in and take them for a run around.”
Seymour Coaches has donated the use of a wheelchair-accessible bus for the weekend. It has been meeting the train at Broadford station and transporting people to the truck show.
Alan says Saturday’s dinner dance was the highlight of the weekend.
“The big thing was the dinner that the Baines family organised. The amount of stuff that Archie got through the suppliers for our auction on the night was unreal.”
About 115 people attended the dinner dance, which featured live music. National Road Transport Hall of Fame CEO Liz Martin was an engaging guest speaker.
Alan says the subsidiary committee worked hard to ensure the inaugural event was a success.
“They did an excellent job. Everything that they organised turned out excellent. “You couldn’t ask for better.” Other volunteers and HCVC members also contributed to the weekend’s success.
Organisers are keen to hold Spirit of the Hume at Broadford again in 2018 – probably in February – and hope it will attract even more classic vehicles and people next year.
“Before the North American trucks took over, everything was English”
Some of the Spirit of the Hume organisers with Alan Taylor’s 1975 International TranStar 4070
Paul Sutcliffe of Hobart with his 1985 R Model Mack, which is usually housed at his museum in Bridgewater, Tasmania
National Road Transport Hall of Fame CEO Liz Martin with Archie Baines. Liz travelled from Alice Springs to support the new event on the truck show calendar
Robert Parker’s 1950 Thornycroft Trusty
Robert Parker of Seymour suspects his restored 1929 Thornycroft A3 could be the only working Thornycroft A3 in Australia
were the Toby and Jack Johnston of the youngest of three generations Spirit of the Hume Johnston family at Truck lovers admire vehicles at the inaugural Spirit of the Hume truck display
Jake Goodwin from Wallan arrived in an unrestored Autocar from the 1970s
Bill Smith found his 1961 Leyland Buffalo at the Pilbara 10 years ago and completed the restoration in 2015