Live­stock Le­gend: Dug­gan Live­stock and Bulk Haulage

The sight of a Ken­worth Le­gend 950 run­ning down the high­way al­most al­ways turns heads, but this Dug­gan Live­stock and Bulk Haulage lim­ited-edi­tion re­lease also has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory. War­ren Aitken talks to driver Don­ald ‘Duck’ Bash­forth about the truc

Deals on Wheels - - Contents -

With each story I get to write I’m learn­ing that in or­der to make it more in­ter­est­ing, it’s vi­tal to have a good truck, a good cause or a good char­ac­ter.

On a re­cent drive around North Queens­land tak­ing pho­tos I was lucky enough to snap a shot of an awe­some lim­ited-edi­tion Ken­worth 950 Le­gend. On closer in­ves­ti­ga­tion I found that in­stead of get­ting one of the three fac­tors needed for a story, I could nail all three in one go. So here is a tale about a Le­gend, a ‘Mouse’ and a ‘Duck’.

Let’s start with the Le­gend first, which is not a la­bel I’m mak­ing up. The fact is that the word ‘Le­gend’ is in the truck’s ti­tle.

The T950 Le­gend was a lim­ited-edi­tion re­lease by Ken­worth to hon­our one of their best-sell­ing and most-pop­u­lar trucks from the 1990s and early 2000s. How­ever, Ken­worth dis­con­tin­ued pro­duc­tion of the T950 in 2007.

Just un­der a decade later the Ken­worth team chose to re­lease a lim­ited-edi­tion run of just 75 of 950 Leg­ends. With sales that would make even Tay­lor Swift en­vi­ous, all were sold be­fore you could fin­ish read­ing the sales brochure.

John wanted to build a truck that would help get peo­ple talk­ing.

Ken­worth rolled out ev­ery­thing that had made the orig­i­nal big-bon­neted beast so pop­u­lar, adding the lat­est-gen­er­a­tion power plant and safety fea­tures. You couldn’t have a 950 with­out the raised cab and pad­dock-sized bon­net, which now cov­ers a Euro 5 Cum­mins ISX. Retro Cum­mins and Ken­worth badg­ing adorned the out­side of each rig while the cus­tom in­te­rior matched nicely with the orig­i­nal flat dash, made pos­si­ble by the lack of mo­tor in­tru­sion in the cab, one of the orig­i­nal sell­ing points of the big T950s.

One of those lucky enough to get his name on board for a 950 Le­gend was John Dug­gan who, along with his wife Karen, runs Dug­gan Live­stock and Bulk Haulage in the cen­tral Queens­land town of Emer­ald. John has al­ways been a Ken­worth fan, with the ma­jor­ity of his fleet sport­ing the KW badge. What’s also no­tice­able is that among his trucks is the third to last T950 to come off the pro­duc­tion line back in 2007.

While be­ing a diehard Ken­worth fan was a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor in John’s de­sire for one of the

Leg­ends, an­other rea­son was John and Karen’s daugh­ter Maddy, and rais­ing aware­ness of the con­di­tion she has. This leads me to the ‘good cause’ an­gle of this story.

Maddy, also known to many as ‘Mouse’, has autism. Autism is a devel­op­men­tal dis­or­der that causes is­sues with com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as mo­tor skills, so­cial is­sues and form­ing re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple. Be­ing a spec­trum dis­or­der it af­fects ev­ery­one dif­fer­ently with no two peo­ple hav­ing all the same symp­toms.

One of Maddy’s symp­toms is that she is non-ver­bal. While it is a tough sit­u­a­tion, the Dug­gans have had a lot of sup­port and, as such, John wanted to build a truck that would help get peo­ple talk­ing and raise aware­ness of autism.

From the Ken­worth fac­tory the 950 Le­gend went to Toowoomba where Icepack Ser­vices were let loose. They blinged-up the out­side and fit­ted all the crea­ture com­forts to the in­te­rior, in­clud­ing an up­right En­gel fridge, TV, mi­crowave, jug and in­verter.

With the truck ‘tricked out’, it was sent down to the team at Cy­clone Air­brush and Graph­ics who then worked their magic. Scroll work front to back, a huge Le­gend sign on the back wall and the name ‘Speech­less’ was hand drawn on. The stand­out though was the iden­ti­cal im­ages drawn on both sides of the sleeper. The art­work rep­re­sent­ing the Ken­worth brand, Mouse and also the Autism Aware­ness rib­bon. Maddy’s love of wa­ter was also in­cor­po­rated in Barry’s art­work.

The end re­sult was ex­actly what John and Karen were hop­ing for: it gets peo­ple talk­ing. Though it is a work­ing truck it has been seen at many char­ity events and was the star of the 2017 Lowood truck show, rais­ing money for Autism Aus­tralia.

NO HAIR­CUT RE­QUIRED

Now for the ‘good char­ac­ter’ part of the story – the man who can be seen pilot­ing this Le­gend.

Don­ald ‘Duck’ Bash­forth has been in the trans­port game al­most since they started putting air in tyres. He hasn’t had a hair­cut since then ei­ther. While some may joke about it, Don­ald laughs off the re­marks, usu­ally re­turn­ing with a come­back that’s a re­minder you are play­ing with an old-school truckie: “Re­spect your elders!”

Don­ald has been with Dug­gan for more than a decade now and there isn’t a lot he hasn’t seen or done. His role now is based out of Char­ters Tow­ers cart­ing prod­uct for and to a lot of long-time Dug­gan cus­tomers.

Don­ald’s reg­u­lar run has him load­ing var­i­ous ag­gre­gates or feed down to Belyando Cross­ing, Emer­ald and sta­tions around the area. Often he reloads with stone from the gem fields to take down to the Dar­ling Downs be­fore pop­ping into New South Wales to pick up a re­turn load of feed, grain or salt to head back up to Char­ters Tow­ers.

It was with a lit­tle re­luc­tance that Don­ald ac­cepted the keys to the Dug­gan’s pride and joy, even though he started with John in an orig­i­nal T950. Such was his de­sire to keep a driv­ing a T909, he com­ment­ing to John at the time, “you bought it, you be happy with your poxy 950!”.

Ob­vi­ously that wasn’t in John’s plans so af­ter what was cer­tainly a few quick ex­changes, Don­ald re­lented and re­turned to call­ing a

Le­gend home.

As ‘Speech­less’ ap­proaches three years old and al­most half a mil­lion kilo­me­tres, Don­ald is damn sure he’s not hand­ing the keys back, ad­mit­ting “I’ve never driven a truck that rides so well”.

He re­calls hav­ing to pick up one of Dug­gan’s

T659 driv­ers in Rock­hamp­ton and bring him back. The T659 driver asked if the road work­ers fixed a par­tic­u­lar bump af­ter he’d been brac­ing him­self ready for a wild ride. “Nup,” was Don­ald’s sim­ple an­swer, adding that the six rods would al­ways hit it wrong, whereas the Le­gend rides just like a car.

SPOT ON

While the truck is usu­ally away for five to six days at a time, Don­ald en­sures it is al­ways look­ing im­mac­u­late. So much so that even the boss is afraid to drive it for fear of scratch­ing it.

It isn’t just Don­ald’s built-in work ethic that drives his de­sire to keep the truck clean, he also ad­mits he likes the mes­sage and aware­ness the truck gets out there. With three trail­ers swing­ing off the back, the truck is a stand­out any­way but with its colour­ful art­work it gar­ners the at­ten­tion of more than just your ev­ery­day truck fan.

So as ‘Speech­less’ keeps rack­ing up the miles, it also ac­com­plishes its se­condary goal and that’s rais­ing aware­ness of an is­sue ef­fect­ing tens of mil­lions of peo­ple around the world. And it gets ev­ery­one smil­ing when they see mak­ing its way along the high­way.

The fi­nal line in this story must be given to the truck it­self, which car­ries the AUTISM ana­gram on its side – ‘Al­ways Unique To­tally In­ter­est­ing Some­times Mys­te­ri­ous’.

Far left: Dug­gans’ big 950 is fill­ing the bin with an­other load of cot­ton seed mealAbove: Don­ald ‘Duck’ Bash­forth is the Le­gend 950’s reg­u­lar driver. He’s been with Dug­gan Live­stock and Bulk Haulage for more than 10 years

Far left: The art­work on the Ken­worth 950 Le­gend was es­pe­cially de­signed to raise aware­ness of autismAbove: The big 950 triple heads off for an­other week on the road

1. Dug­gan Live­stock and Bulk Haulage’s Ken­worth 950 Le­gend was only one of 75 re­leased onto the mar­ket2. Cus­tom mix stock feed get loaded onto Don­ald’s lead trailer at Cole­man Stock Feeds in Char­ters Tow­ers, the load will be his first drop down Belyando Cross­ing3. The Ken­worth’s nick­name, ‘Speech­less’, is a pointer to the Maddy Dug­gan’s con­di­tion 4. A spe­cial mes­sage for Maddy ‘Mouse’ Dug­gan, from par­ents John and Karen, and Maddy’s brother Jack

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