5th November 2017. Newcastle Transport Awareness Day.

Goodaye all. My humble apologies for missing last weeks instalment. I attended the Newcastle Transport Awareness Day, the 22nd, all previously held on the Newcastle foreshore till this year, but now at the Maitland Showground. They have raised very serious money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service over the years and have had a few new faces involved on the committee in the last few years. Unless you have been involved in setting up such an event, and even with a long history such as here, if you walk in to take over from those before you, it is a lot of work.

I had planned to attend the dinner on the Friday night and was asked to speak, but had to do another trip, so offered an apology and got out of Melbourne late Friday evening. There was a few in front of me when I arrived, so a few hours delay, but thanks to the boys at King of the Road Truckwash in Albury for a terrific job, considering it had rained every one of the five legs that week and also the previous week, so it was dirty.

I pulled up south of Gundagai to go to bed and found oil leaking out of the axle gasket. At 1AM, nothing to do but go to bed. I rang the workshop foreman in the morning and we arranged to get it sorted at the Sydney depot and while I fuelled and the gasket was replaced, I then touched up the trailer curtains with a felt pen. Got into Maitland and after some more tidying up, completed some pinstriping  and then went and had tea with Stephen from Whiteline TV who was also attending. Back to the truck, wiping down wheels etc till they turned the lights out and to bed in my usual abode, this week 7 nights in the TIV.

We went up to watch the convoy converge, I was loaded so did not want to drop the trailers and had banners to put up etc and on return Stephen did some filming of the convoy as it arrived at the showgrounds. Well done to all who put in thousands of hours in total to present their trucks in such a gleaming showcase, millions of dollars of new and old equipment, proudly displayed during their mostly, one day a week off.

I thank the organisers for the invite and was glad to attend, my third time over the years. The first time was the very first event with the original TIV trailer curtains and they had a hole in them from someone else’s failure to do the right thing. It became a dragged out row, but was eventually resolved and that curtain was patched and now resides at the Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.

I went with the specific aim of doing a seminar and showing our sharing rest areas video, but due to someone else booking the hall, could not do so. I was asked to help with the judging and then when that was done, we did the interviews and our bit for TRUCK THAT November, which should be out this week. There was a good crowd during the day, I gave away copies of Owner Driver and the Truckies Top Ten Tips children’s version, had many take photos and ask questions and thank Stephen for looking after the TIV and inquiries while I did the judging with others.

Such industry events are often our one chance to not only have the public see and hopefully appreciate our vehicles, but I still feel we often let them get away without having them educated about the other side of our industry to that which they are exposed in the media, generally all bad. The seminars were a chance and I again, wish it could have happened. Obviously the families of truckies do not need to be told, but when the only press we get is bad, we must take every opportunity to show our good side, the side that delivers the food, the clothes, the fuel and the life we lead in Australia.

How many of you have been in a truck for a trip? How many have spoken with a truckie and truly understand our issues? Not enough and unfortunately, getting the right people who will not only recognise the issues and perhaps, even do something to help us, is damn hard work. If you want to help, let me know. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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