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

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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.”

Mem­o­ries shared

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.crawl­inthe­ 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

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