Truckie leg­ends: Alice Springs’ new Hall of Fame in­ductees

The 2017 Truck­ies Re­union rolled around again this year with 80 more names added to the Shell Rim­ula Hall of Fame. Matt Wood trav­elled to Alice Springs to hear their sto­ries

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EV­ERY YEAR in­di­vid­u­als who’ve spent a life­time toil­ing away in anonymity are recog­nised for a life­time of hard work and con­tri­bu­tion to the Aus­tralian way of life.

The sheer vol­ume of sto­ries makes it hard to tell them all in the con­fines of a mag­a­zine snap­shot.

How­ever, one of the great things about this event is that it doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate be­tween com­pany owner, em­ployee driver or even the part­ner who was left hold­ing the fort at home.

The hun­dreds of years of col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence at this event cre­ates a pal­pa­ble sense of his­tory and pride.

It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of the lives of the many in­di­vid­u­als who have done the hard yards, driven the miles and, in many cases, have suc­ceeded against all odds. The story of Aus­tralian truck­ing is etched on these peo­ple; the lined faces and the work-hard­ened hands.

The in­de­fati­ga­ble Liz Martin, CEO of the Na­tional Road Trans­port Hall Of Fame, kicked off pro­ceed­ings and took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the vol­un­teers who make this event hap­pen year af­ter year.

There was also a shoutout to Viva En­ergy/Shell Rim­ula for sup­port­ing the get-to­gether.

Paul Fisher, key ac­count man­ager for Viva En­ergy, also said a few words be­fore the in­ductees were in­vited to the stage.

“To­day we cel­e­brate the in­di­vid­u­als that have con­trib­uted to the Aus­tralian trans­port in­dus­try,” Fisher says.

“It’s great to see so many peo­ple make the jour­ney to be here.”

MEM­O­RABLE MO­MENTS

The sto­ries came thick and fast, and many of them had a con­sis­tent theme – hard graft from a young age.

Alan ‘Grubby’ Bar­den, for ex­am­ple, climbed be­hind the wheel of a truck at the age of 16. He spent the early 1960s haul­ing tim­ber and bri­quettes from Bairns­dale to Cooma on gravel roads in a Com­mer Knocker.

These days Alan can be found be­hind the wheel of a T909 Kenny.

“Trucks have got­ten so much bet­ter,” he says, “More power, more com­fort, even sleeper cabs!”

”It’s great to see so many peo­ple make the jour­ney to be here”

Can­berra-based Ken Car­ratt has had a wild ride dur­ing his 50 years in truck­ing. As a 21-year-old he was haul­ing clay to the Yar­ralumla Brick­works in an AEC Mus­tang.

One of his more mem­o­rable mo­ments was lay­ing over an F600 Mack with a load of coal on board in Wol­lon­gong.

“I was tak­ing a short­cut,” he says with a sheep­ish grin.

“I dumped the whole load of coal in an empty bus stop!”

Then there was also the night he took out the bridge in Be­nalla with a K125 Ken­worth and landed on the op­po­site bank up­side down: “That was the end of the Ken­worth,” he says dryly.

Peter ‘Pe­dro’ Fol­well runs Mel­bourne-based Primo Haulage, but back in the 1970s he was run­ning around Mel­bourne in a GM-powered but­ter box ACCO.

He’s not ex­actly en­am­oured with how the in­dus­try has changed over the years. “We went from hav­ing a lot of fun to po­lit­i­cal mad­ness.”

These days the com­pany runs nine trucks, which he says suits his life­style.

For Port Lin­coln-based Hay­den Hore, truck­ing began as a fam­ily af­fair on the Eyre Penin­sula.

“I started out driv­ing tip­pers for my un­cle,” he re­calls. “But I did a bit of ev­ery­thing.”

Hay­den ended up sub­by­ing to Eyre Trans­porters and hauled gen­eral freight to Ade­laide. “I bought my first Volvo, a G88 in 1976; I’ve been a Volvo man ever since.”

Hay­den re­tired six years ago; his last truck was an F10 Volvo tip­pers. Looking back, how­ever, he reck­ons the best time for him be­hind the wheel was pulling road train fuel tankers across the Nullar­bor. “It was a lot of fun, a lot of good mem­o­ries.”

In 1968, Lind­say Knight scored his first driv­ing job in an F700 Ford. And 12 months later he went and bought his own.

Lind­say was based in the South Aus­tralian River­land and racked up quite a few miles as a long­haul op­er­a­tor.

In the late 1990s he de­fied ad­vice from friends and fam­ily and teamed up with his wife, driv­ing their truck two-up from Ade­laide to Cairns run­ning wine and pro­duce. “That was the best time,” he says.

Now Lind­say stays closer to home as an em­ployee driver do­ing lo­cal tanker work for Booths.

TRAGIC LOSS

Tragedy bought San­dra Lit­tle to Alice Springs this year. Her daugh­ter Gayle, who died in a truck ac­ci­dent last year, was in­ducted at this year’s event. Truck­ing has played a huge part in her fam­ily with three of her chil­dren and her ex-hus­band driv­ing trucks at one stage.

Looking back at the pres­ence truck­ing has had in her life, San­dra reck­ons its ca­ma­raderie that she misses the most; many of her friends had fam­ily mem­bers who were away on the road. “We were a fam­ily,” she says. Neville Mur­phy has the bear­ing of

a bloke who’s done more than his fair share of hard yards.

Grow­ing up the ru­ral ham­let of Tara in Queens­land’s West­ern Downs re­gion, Neville started out as a de­liv­ery boy. As an adult he hauled a lot of tim­ber for lo­cal com­pany Har­wood Trans­port. Mar­riage and fam­ily saw him move to Bris­bane and give away the long-haul life. Con­tainer work and bulk ce­ment work kept him busy enough af­ter that.

Work­ing for Queens­land Ce­ment and Lime was a ca­reer highlight.

“The peo­ple were great, as was the man­ager at the time, Terry Le­ween, the best bloke I ever worked for.”

Heavy-haul vet­eran and Mack afi­cionado Paul Har­ri­son of Cardiff NSW was in­ducted as an Icon of the In­dus­try.

The tales con­tin­ued. Phill James of Bro­ken Hill, for ex­am­ple, was too caught up haul­ing live­stock to at­tend. Bunny Brown, known for his in­volve­ment in the Tar­cutta Truck and Farm­ing Mu­seum, as well as ALDODA (Aus­tralian Long Dis­tance Owner and Driv­ers As­so­ci­a­tion), is now also a part of the Shell Rim­ula Hall of Fame.

Ev­ery five years there’s a big shindig at the Road Trans­port Hall of Fame. How­ever, while the sight and spec­ta­cle of all the trucks in town is a sight to be­hold, there’s some­thing about the at­mos­phere of these smaller gath­er­ings. The sto­ries don’t get lost in the crowd.

There are few events that cel­e­brate the con­tri­bu­tions that truck­ing and the peo­ple that make up the ta­pes­try of the in­dus­try. And no doubt there will be more sto­ries to tell next year.

Knack­ler Photo Ashraf Fame this year. to the Hall of were added Eighty new names

Road Trans­port Hall Of Fame CEO Liz Martin kicks off pro­ceed­ings. Photo Ashraf Knack­ler

An­other new ad­di­tion for the Ken­worth pav­il­ion at the Road Trans­port Hall of Fame. Photo Ashraf Knack­ler

Hay­den Horne was joined Shep­pard. by his grand­kids A Volvo man Chelsea at heart, Hay­den and Max life haul­ing out of Port spent the bulk Lin­coln. Photo of his supplied

A new home for the Ken­worth 900 Leg­end. Photo Ashraf Knack­ler

of as an Icon in­ducted was Har­ri­son vet­eran Paul supplied Photo Heavy haulage In­dus­try. the

Neville Mur­phy started out as a small town de­liv­ery boy in Queens­land’s Downs. He ended up de­vot­ing West­ern many years to driv­ing ce­ment south-east­ern­tankers around Queens­land. Photo supplied

Pe­dro still owns nine trucks on in­ter­state from slog­ging around town fridge work. in a but­ter It’s a far box ACCO. cry Photo supplied

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