Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver -


There’s a new set of ‘safety cam­eras’ on the Hume, north of Mel­bourne near Wal­lan. It’s around the same area where the old weight cam­era used to be.

How­ever, the heavy-ve­hi­cle sec­tion of VicRoads’ Traf­fic Man­age­ment Sec­tion are be­ing more than a lit­tle coy about their new cam­eras. In fact, it’s un­der­stood that one not-so-pleas­ant old mate in the heavy-ve­hi­cle depart­ment be­came slightly ag­i­tated when asked what’s the go with their new ‘safety’ de­vices, es­pe­cially when the point-to-point cam­eras are al­ready nearby.

More to the point, he didn’t want to dis­cuss the is­sue.

We’ll wait and see when the rev­enue starts rolling in.


An­other point-to-point sce­nario is hap­pen­ing on the Newell, south of Dubbo. It seems more than a few heavy-ve­hi­cle driv­ers are be­ing pinged for ex­ceed­ing the point-to-point speed limit be­tween Tomin­g­ley and Peak Hill, which is nor­mally 100km/h.

But with sup­posed roadworks in place, the NSW Roads and Mar­itime Services are hav­ing a field day, book­ing driv­ers who travel that stretch do­ing up to 99km/h.

Trou­ble is, the 100km/h signs are still there, the 80km/h signs were of­ten cov­ered, and the roadworks were com­plete. Some driv­ers are chal­leng­ing the in­fringe­ments. One was told he only had a 1 per cent chance of beat­ing it, but still took the RMS on. Sur­pris­ingly, we heard the RMS then with­drew the charge.


Ap­par­ently a suc­ces­sor to the in­fa­mous RTA of­fi­cer nick­named ‘Red’ has taken up res­i­dence at the Marulan weigh­bridge. Okay, it’s now the RMS, but while the depart­ment has changed its name, the at­ti­tude at Marulan is still there – with one par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual at least.

A driver with decades of ex­pe­ri­ence passed through the Mt White weigh­bridge with­out in­ci­dent. But old mate at Marulan dis­cov­ered his pre­vi­ous break was 30 min­utes short of the seven hours. Gotcha!

Off to court they go, but the judge was sym­pa­thetic with the truckie. He’d gone 34 years with­out a log­book of­fence and on the day in ques­tion his mind was a lit­tle dis­tracted. It was the an­niver­sary of an ac­ci­dent that claimed the lives of his wife and son.

No sym­pa­thy from our RMS man, though. He wanted to make an ex­am­ple of these so-called pro­fes­sional truck driv­ers who can’t work these log­book hours.

The judge had no choice but to is­sue a fine. Old mate from the RMS was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed when his re­quest for $550 of court costs was turned down. The judge told him $250 is the max­i­mum you’re get­ting.

Tak­ing into ac­count the cir­cum­stances and the driver’s good record, we’ve heard that the judge’s fi­nal words to the RMS bloke was short and to the point – “I think you need to change your at­ti­tude”.


Truck­ies have a new cham­pion in the bat­tle against fa­tigue in those witch­ing early hours.

“Sud­denly a shad­owy fig­ure emerges from the dark­ness,” says the dra­matic tongue-in-cheek voiceover.

“A rebel. A guardian of ev­ery­thing that’s fair in this dog-eat-dog world. One man with an opin­ion, a stu­dio hot­line, and five hours to kill.”

That man is Aussie ra­dio vet­eran Luke Bona, who, with his young off­sider Miss Jess, works the new ‘Night Shift’ pro­gram air­ing overnight na­tion­ally on the Triple M net­work since kick­ing off just be­fore Christ­mas as a “ra­dio ex­per­i­ment”.

The show is a mix of hu­mour, sex talk and re­la­tion­ship stuff, chat about some of the big news is­sues of the day, and a few clas­sic rock numbers each hour.

Luke ‘the all-night Bona’ and Jess bounce off each other hi­lar­i­ously, and many of the callers are clas­sic char­ac­ters too. They in­clude lots of both lo­cal and long-dis­tance truck­ies, and there’s a nice com­mu­nity feel about the show.

Bona en­cour­ages the au­di­ence to “spread the word” about the Night Shift “fam­ily” – which he jokes is a some­times “dys­func­tional” one – so that’s ex­actly what we’re do­ing.


While on the sub­ject of ra­dio shows, there are plenty of truck driv­ers along the New England High­way who tuned into ‘Hoe­down’ on ra­dio 2TM in the late 1960s and into the 1980s.

Sadly, the orig­i­nal host of the show, John Minson, passed away on March 10 at age 89.

Minson was one of the key vi­sion­ar­ies who turned Tam­worth into ‘Coun­try Mu­sic Cap­i­tal’.

For more than two decades he pre­sented the nightly coun­try mu­sic ra­dio pro­gram ‘Hoe­down’.

2TM’s clear chan­nel, omni-di­rec­tional sig­nal meant it did not share its fre­quency with other sta­tions and, as a re­sult, the sig­nal could be heard at night all over Aus­tralia.

A keen mu­si­cian, Minson played his har­mon­ica on many record­ing ses­sions in­clud­ing some for Slim Dusty.

A num­ber of his songs were recorded, in­clud­ing one by Buddy Wil­liams (‘The Mighty Moonbi Range’).

Re­tir­ing from 2TM in 1987, Minson and his wife Ann moved to Coffs Har­bour in 2001 where he took up build­ing model air­craft.

John is sur­vived by Ann, sons Lawrie (and wife Shelly) and James and daugh­ter Kath­leen and her daugh­ters Jess and Nikki.


For those in­ter­ested in the truck­ing in­dus­try in the United States, a rec­om­mended read is Driver: Six Weeks in an Eigh­teen Wheeler by Philip Wil­son.

The book cov­ers his ‘train­ing’ with a big com­pany be­fore head­ing out on his own. His trainer could have done with some ex­tra train­ing be­fore­hand, but they sur­vived each other to­gether, with a break in the mid­dle, shar­ing a Ken­worth for six weeks across much of Amer­ica.

Marulan weigh sta­tion. Do drop in!

For­mer Ra­dio 2TM host John Minson

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