Crawlin’ the Hume
Crawlin’ the Hume 2018 attracted 255 classic trucks ranging from a 1920 T Model Ford to a 1993 Kenworth T950. Tamara Whitsed writes
255 classic trucks tackle the old road
ABOUT 255 classic trucks traced the old Hume Highway from Melbourne to Albury for the fourth Crawlin’ the Hume road run on April 14. The biennial event has built up a strong following since it was first held in 2012. Some truck lovers raced against time to complete restorations for this year’s run. “The quality of the restoration and the money that people are doing now, the hobby has just gone into outer space,” organiser Rob French says. Unrestored vehicles were equally welcome and admired. To be eligible, trucks had to be at least 25 years old. The oldest truck entered was Geoff Brooke’s 1920 Model T. A 1993 Kenworth T950 was the newest truck on the run. Rob says rain throughout the journey “didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit”.
“It might have been a lot better for everyone to travel on a nice sunny day, but that’s the way it is, and we’re all pretty happy,” he says.
More than 60 of the trucks travelled from New South Wales to meet at the starting point in Melbourne’s north, including a large contingent of Kenworths from Sydney. “We had entrants from Tasmania, Queensland, and South Australia,” Rob says. “We had people come to the dinner from America.”
Liz Martin, formerly of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame at Alice Springs, Northern Territory, was a passenger throughout the historic journey.
The old road
Crawlin’ the Hume began at the Ford Factory, Campbellfield. The run passed through Wallan, Broadford, Tallarook, Seymour, Avenel, Locksley, Longwood, Euroa, Violet Town, Baddaginnie, Benalla, Glenrowan, Wangaratta, Chiltern, Barnawartha, Wodonga and Albury.
Many trucks pulled trailers including flat tops, low loaders, spread axles, tippers, refrigerated trailers and tautliners. Some entrants piggybacked other classic trucks. A few drivers even went to the trouble of tarping their loads. Several buses also took part.
Rob knew it would be difficult to squeeze the trucks and trailers in at Winton Motor Raceway, and he appreciated the effort of local CFA members who endured bad weather to coordinate truck parking when the trucks stopped for lunch and a short
“We had people come to the dinner from America.”
truck display. “Everybody likes to tow a trailer, so when you’ve got 250 trucks with trailers, it’s a nightmare to park them up. But we had no problems this year,” Rob says.
Geoff Rudd of Canberra drove a 1968 Dodge 760. He was sentimental about driving the Dodge on the Victorian section of the old Hume Highway 50 years after he first drove it to Melbourne. Geoff operated GV Rudd Transport until his retirement in 2008. He has enjoyed many classic truck runs but says the 2018 Crawl might be the Dodge’s last trip to Melbourne.
It was great to see 20-year-old Malcolm Hunter displaying P plates on his 1989 Kenworth K100 – evidence the new generation of drivers is committed to preserving our trucking heritage.
Malcolm, from Warragul, Victoria, has held a Heavy Combination licence since February. His father took part in Crawlin’ the Hume in 2016.
“I missed out on doing it because I was a bit younger,” Malcolm says. “That was my goal this time, to have my own truck.”
He spent 12 months looking at truck advertisements but dismissed any truck that was too new to qualify for the Crawl. Malcolm’s next goal is to begin a truck driving career, either as an employee or owner-driver.
“That was my goal this time, to have my own truck.”
Poems by signwriter Rick ‘Chocs’ Hayman were a hit at the Saturday night dinner at the Albury Racecourse, which was attended by more than 270 people.
Singing truckie Ian Castles of Five Ways, Victoria, was an engaging guest speaker at the dinner. The 80-year-old shared memories from the years he spent subbying for Ansett Freight Express in the 1960s.
Back then, drivers made lifelong friendships on the highway. They had time to share leisurely meals at roadhouses and sleep when they were tired, instead of when their diaries dictated.
Ian recalled the days when truckies were not allowed to drive on Sundays, so they gathered at Euroa and drank at the Seven Creeks Hotel. At “one minute past midnight” they would continue their journey.
During his years as an owner-driver, Ian owned an International, Dodge, Chevrolet, Bedford and Diamond T. Later he owned a truck parts business, Truck Bits; and now he is a busy country music performer.
This is the third Crawl Ian has attended. He carried a 1931 Chev and a KB International tow truck dubbed ‘The Critter’ behind his 2004 Kenworth 404. Three unlucky drivers broke down during Crawlin’ the Hume, but received plenty of help from their trucking comrades – just like the old days on the highway.
Trevor Davis, who helped organise Crawlin’ the Hume, was pleased to see truckies reminiscing about Highway 31. “They like driving their trucks but they really do like getting out and talking to people either at the start line or at Winton or at Albury.”
Trevor was full of admiration for those who drove trucks from the 1920s, including the three T Model Fords which completed the run. “It would have been absolutely horrendous,” Trevor says. “Rain would have been coming in all different places and all different angles and it would have been freezing cold.”
Despite the conditions, the drivers had smiles on their faces when they arrived at Winton and Albury.
Visit www.crawlinthehume.com to stay up to date with plans for the 2020 Crawlin’ the Hume. And join the Haulin’ the Hume Facebook group for information about a similar event planned for next year, the 2019 Haulin’ the Hume from Sydney to Yass.
“Back then, drivers made lifelong friendships on the highway.”
Above left: Organiser Rob French remembers driving a Bedford on the Hume Highway in the 1970sBelow: Trevor Davis with his restored 1927 International SL-34Bottom L to R: Frank Mercuri’s International pulled a Tilley’s trailer; Ian and Sharron Glasson’s BedfordOpposite top: Colin Webb’s International TranStar and Malcolm Hunter’s 1989 Kenworth K100 crawl the old HumeOpposite bottom L to R: Bruce Gunter of Sydney takes the Haulin’ the Hume trailer through Chiltern; Brian Smith’s 1923 T Model Ford completed the run despite the rain. Afterwards he took the scenic route back to Melbourne, passing through Bonnie Doon, Alexandra and Healesville; Geoff Rudd of Canberra travelled the Victorian section of the old Hume 50 years after he first took his 1968 Dodge 760 to Melbourne
Top: Trucks parked at Albury Racecourse overnight
3rd row: Don McGlinchie’s 1964 International DCO at Chiltern
4th row L to R: Peter Murphy’s 1923 T Model Ford was one of the oldest trucks on the run; Bruce Gunter and his father Geoff Gunter at Albury. They dreamed up Haulin’ the Hume in New South Wales in 2011, prompting Victorians to launch Crawlin’ the Hume a year later
Above L to R: Glen Nind’s Kenworth in TNT colours; Scott Hough was the first person to register for the 2018 event. He drove a White tipper; Guest speaker Ian Castles shared memories of his years on interstate express at the Saturday night dinner
Left: John Payne of Mulwala drove a Kenworth K125 which carried a D Line International and R Model Mack. John has been trucking for 50 years
Above L to R: Benjamin Johnston’s 1935 Ford; Terry Lowe’s 1979 White Road Commander was previously owned by his father, the late Kevan Lowe. Kevan and the White were once well known on the HumeLeft: Mark Bird’s Western Star Middle: Ken Jacobson’s Kenworth Below left: Col Lovett’s WhiteBottom L to R: Brian Hodges’ Mack; Terry Walker’s KenworthOpposite top: Mick Cleary’s KenworthOpposite 2nd row L to R: Jim Ristovichis’ 1984 R Model Mack and original trailer; Archie Baines’ B Model MackOpposite 3rd row L to R: David O’Farrell’s Ford L9000; Sunday morning’s presentation was all in jest – Darrell Killick received the Biggest Bullshit Artist awardOpposite bottom L to R: Phillip Longhurst’s Kenworth; Michael Herbert’s Austin