Sylvia’s run:

Vin­tage con­voy tack­les the old Hume

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THE AUS­TRALIAN Road Trans­port Her­itage Cen­tre (ARTHC) held its an­nual truck show, fundrais­ing din­ner and Sylvia’s Gap Road run on June 10 and 11, at­tract­ing a wide range of ve­hi­cles to Gunda­gai, New South Wales.

The ac­tiv­i­ties be­gan with a truck show at the Gunda­gai Show Grounds. The Prince Al­fred Bridge, which was part of the Hume High­way un­til 1976, pro­vided an his­toric back­drop.

Prizes were awarded to Leigh and Kerry Rankin of Katunga, Vic­to­ria, for their 1977 White Road Boss, and the Garner fam­ily of Tu­mut for their re­stored 1947 In­ter­na­tional KB7.

The week­end was an op­por­tu­nity for drivers of all ages to catch up with old high­way mates and to rub shoul­ders with pi­o­neer­ing truck drivers like 90-year- old Rex Shiel of Kil­syth, Vic­to­ria. Rex drove for com­pa­nies such as Panuc­cis, Bram­bles and Cootes. He trav­elled nine mil­lion kilo­me­tres dur­ing his ca­reer which spanned six decades.


Dur­ing the Sylvia’s Gap Road Run, Rex was a pas­sen­ger in a 1990 T650 that he had driven for Cootes Trans­port in the 1990s.

To­day, Churchill Trans­port owns the T650. John Scott, 75, drove the T650 on the run. He is a for­mer Churchill em­ployee and has known Rex since the 1950s. Churchill Trans­port’s 1990 Ken­worth T650 shines at the Gunda­gai truck show

John be­gan driv­ing trucks in 1962 and spent most of his ca­reer cart­ing re­frig­er­ated freight.

“I went over Sylvia’s a lot when I first started to drive,” he says.

The T650 led a con­voy of about 48 trucks which be­gan at the Gunda­gai Show Grounds and fol­lowed old and new sec­tions of the Hume High­way through Tum­b­long to Sylvia’s Gap Road.

The sec­tion of road which in­cludes Sylvia’s Cut­ting and Han­nah’s Pinch was part of the Hume High­way from 1940 to 1983. This is now pri­vate prop­erty but the own­ers opened their gates for the event.

The road run re­minded John of the per­ils of this sec­tion of the old Hume High­way.

“I can’t be­lieve that the road was so small, so nar­row, and so windy and steep. And the trucks we had were only 120 or 130hp.”

Many of the trucks tak­ing part had been re­stored. Oth­ers were mod­ern trucks still work­ing the high­ways. Sev­eral trucks car­ried older ve­hi­cles

“The road was so small, so nar­row, and so windy and steep”

in var­i­ous stages of restora­tion on their trays or trail­ers.

Mo­tor­bikes, utes, cars and ex-mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles fol­lowed the trucks on the run.

John is an ac­tive sup­porter of the ARTHC. He takes his turn on the mu­seum ros­ter and had many roles dur­ing the fundrais­ing week­end. He sold raf­fle tick­ets and helped other vol­un­teers cook the Sun­day morn­ing break­fast.

John de­scribes the en­thu­si­as­tic vol­un­teers as ‘wel­com­ing’ and urges peo­ple of all ages to join the ARTHC to help build a per­ma­nent trans­port mu­seum on the Hume High­way.


Barry Grim­son was guest speaker at a fundrais­ing din­ner on Sat­ur­day night where a lively auc­tion raised $9500 for the pro­posed new mu­seum. He was one of five in­sti­ga­tors of the 1979 Ra­zor­back Block­ade but has rarely spo­ken pub­licly about the protest.

“We abol­ished road tax; we went from 90km/ h to 100. The other thing was we went from 36 tonne to 39 tonne,” Barry told the 180 peo­ple who at­tended the din­ner.

“So if there were any de­trac­tors I’ve al­ways said to them, ‘Well, why didn’t you keep pay­ing road tax? Why didn’t you keep do­ing 90km/ h and why didn’t you keep cart­ing 36 tonne?’”

He fin­ished with a mes­sage for the new gen­er­a­tion of truck drivers: “You’ve got to fight for it be­cause it’s just a fan­tas­tic in­dus­try, road trans­port.”

The Sylvia’s Gap fundrais­ing week­end will be on again next year. Mean­while, the ARTHC has turned its at­ten­tion to its Fe­bru­ary fundraiser – a trac­tor pull and swap meet.

For de­tails, visit or like the Aus­tralian Road Trans­port Her­itage Cen­tre Face­book page.

“You’ve got to fi ght for it be­cause it’s just a fan­tas­tic in­dus­try”

Scott Menz at the truck show with his 1988 Ken­worth T650

Trucks line up near the old Prince Al­fred Bridge to be­gin the Sylvia’s Gap Road Run

Aus­tralian Mil­i­tary Equip­ment Col­lec­tors (AMEC) club mem­bers with a WWII Bren Gun car­rier

Bruce Brown of Glen­more at the Gunda­gai Truck Show with his 1965 Toy­ota 6000 DA115. Bruce is 73 and still drives a truck around Syd­ney

John Rees, Rex Shiel and John Scott trav­elled Sylvia’s Gap Road in Churchill’s shiny 1990 Ken­worth T650

Robert McIn­er­ney of Tu­mut with his truck and jinker

Gor­don Garner (right) and his son Mal­colm Garner from Tu­mut with their prize-win­ning 1947 In­ter­na­tional KB7 at the Gunda­gai Truck Show

Greg Stephen­son of Can­berra with his 1985 Ford LTL

DRT’s 2007 Ken­worth T950

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