Remembering road stalwarts
Chance to celebrate, reflect
MORE than 500 trucks will converge on Gatton on the weekend for the 15th Lights on the Hill Memorial Convoy weekend.
The convoy will depart from Withcott and Wacol on Saturday for a day of festivities at the Gatton Showgrounds and a memorial service will follow at Lake Apex on Sunday.
Adrian Smith and his family know full well the sacrifices drivers make on the roads every day to ensure the country doesn’t grind to a halt.
Now in his late 30s, Mr Smith has been driving for Nolan’s Interstate Transport for nearly 15 years, following in the footsteps of his father Bruce, who drove for the company for four decades.
The name of his grandfather Robert adorns the truck and coach drivers’ memorial wall in Gatton.
Adrian, better known as Tex, has been involved in every convoy since the event’s inception.
“Being in it there’s a lot of emotion that comes into it,” he said.
“I probably know a dozen people personally that are up on that wall.
“It’s to show respect to your fellow drivers that have fallen on the road or have done their service on the road and passed by natural causes.
“It’s an industry that gets shot down in many ways and when it comes to the crunch, everyone rallies together.
“The camaraderie and everything needs to come back to it more to keep the industry strong.”
Mr Smith covers thousands of kilometres each week in his trusty Kenworth T409SAR, regularly driving produce from Gatton to Sydney before heading up to Brisbane and back again.
“People just think it’s only a truck,” he said.
“If that truck doesn’t get to where it’s going, people don’t get their feed, their food or their clothes.
“Everything turns up on a truck one way or another.”
Last year 65 names were added to “The Wall’’ and another 35 will be added during this year’s service.
Lights on the Hill president Simon Hawker said the service is incredibly important to those in the transport industry.
“The Wall is a place where people can go and think good memories, bad memories, whatever,” Mr Hawker said.
“Something like that has to be there for families to sit and reflect.
“The service brings all of that together. It can mean closure for a lot of families.
“That their loved ones are on that wall with their mates, that’s a big thing.”
Gates open at the showgrounds at 9am on Saturday and the memorial begins at 10am on Sunday at Lake Apex.