I started work in transport with Tony Newton Transport when I left school at 15. Tony ran roadtrains from Brisbane to Mt Isa each week and I looked after the office, took bookings and loaded trucks. With Tony I drove my first car on the road, first semi and roadtrain and did some trips, including to Mt Isa to recover a trailer, bogged and dumped near Kynuna when the road was still dirt. I still recall having to ring Ma’s at Longreach to check to see if the road was open, before the truck left Brisbane each Friday night, sometimes riding home on my bicycle after 10 at night when the 2nd trailer was finally loaded.
Tony sold out to Frigmobile and he did arrange a job there for me as well. I again started in the office, doing manifesting, then went onto the dock loading trailers, then on the forklift in the coldstores and then onto rigid trucks doing deliveries etc. I did country runs to Kingaroy and other spots in my Commer 8 tonner with a Perkins engine. A few subbies let me drive their trucks including a then big truck, a G89 Volvo. Frigmobile had an old Atkinson, then Isuzus for local prime movers and mainly used subbies for linehaul. I remember an old Oshkosh and all manner of rigs
John from Trial Bay Haulage was a character, Sally Watkins with his black and gold Kenworth doing the roadtrains to Mt Isa and many others come to mind and Kelvin and Stanley Fuller, now a large concern in Brisbane, K and S Transport, ran a purple and white K100 which did the Brisbane to Sydney shuttle. Stories from drivers obviously helped fuel my passion for the road and some scared me even more!
I had a dispute over a truck and left in a huff, went to drive for Inghams chickens in their little Fiats, doing deliveries of fresh chickens to KFC stores far and wide, even overseas to Bribie Island on occasion and put on a bit of weight eating too much each day. Then I went to Luya Julius, where I started as a courier driver, then went into the container park, becoming supervisor for a number of years. I also did costing, fleet allocation a few times and did occasional trips, or week end runs to the rail or wharf.
Finemores then bought them out and the container park slowed, so I moved over to fuel tankers, running petrol and diesel from Ampol in Brisbane to Dubbo, 2 drivers sharing a truck and b-double set of tanks, based in Goondiwindi. We started with an F10 Volvo and tri/bogey 23m b-double, went to an FH 10 with 25m tri/tri and then into Ford Louisvilles with Detroit Series 60 engines, which did very well for Finemores, being nearly the mainstay of the fleet till Ford stopped making trucks.
Then we started running all over the place, to Melbourne and Sydney and often, you did not know where you would be tomorrow, let alone next week. At one time I was inducted into 12 different fuel terminals in three states and that was a bit unusual, as even the AIP passport books we had to keep, simply did not have enough pages.
Toll then bought out Finemores and eventually after 29 years of continuous service, though with three companies, I left there, not having been able to find anyone in Toll who would help with my aim, to have a truck to promote the road transport industry and road safety. Had I not left, I doubt the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle would exist. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.