A day in the life with Dad

Lukas Jimmieson heads out with his dad in his Scania R620 visiting some farms.

It’s 10am on a Tuesday morning and we are loaded up with 500 lambs that we have picked up, headed towards the processing plant in Feilding.

Our day started after an overnight stop in the Martinborough Transport yard. To kick things off, the 5.30am alarm goes off and we are up, bunks made, and a tidy of the cab before heading over to the wash bay. A quick hose out getting rid of yesterday’s animal poop – one of my favorite jobs because I can get stuck in and can see the cool end result. Then we have a wash up of the outside, getting Dad’s Scania R620 shining bright.

Now with everything clean, it was time for a quick hot drink and we were away, heading away from Martinborough and over to Wairere Farm.

Wairere Farm is one of my favorite farms we visit because it’s so big and everyone there is welcoming and willing to teach me things.

This is our first pickup of the day. We back in and get stuck in loading up the truck. Only 60 lambs from Wairere today, and off we go.

We had four pickups overall that day totalling 525 lambs. Over to Fielding we go, but not before a stop in Pahiatua for some lunch. Chicken and chips it is. Yum.

Time for some logs

Dustin’s up bright and early around Canterbury in the South Island of New Zealand, spending a day in a log truck with Canterbury-based transport operator Steve Murphy Limited.

Hey there Little Truckers, how are we getting on? While you were sleeping the other morning I was up bright and early, trucking along in a Mack Granite with a load of logs, heading to Rolleston.

Once we got there, we were a bit early for the loader driver so our driver Jimmy unloaded. When he finished I was allowed to jump out, and Jimmy handed me the broom and got me to sweep down the chassis. Then we went off to a crane called a gantry and put the trailer up on the back of the truck.

We jumped back in the truck and headed for a small North Canterbury town called Greta Valley where our first load was. When we got there, there was another trucker there that had just got loaded so he pulled forward and we backed in. Then the digger took the trailer off the back of the truck, and we went and helped the other truck chain down. When we were getting loaded I was lucky enough to get out and take some photos.

Once we were loaded we pulled forward and chained down. This is when you throw the chains over the logs, and then pull them down tight to make sure they are secure.

Jimmy and I got on the road back to town heading for Rolleston again for round two. Once we got there the loader driver was moving some logs around so we took off our chains and moved forward for him to unload us. Then we headed back north once more to get loaded at the same place. We got loaded, chained down again and this time we were going to a place in Rangiora called McAlpines, where we unloaded the third load of the day.

After that, we headed home as Jimmy and I live just down the road from each other. Once he dropped me off I just stood there as the big Mack gave a grunt and took off and I got the big toot.

Now a bit about Jimmy. Jimmy has loved trucks ever since he was a little boy. He got his licences on his 18th birthday. Jimmy’s favourite truck was a DAF 430hp until he got the Mack Granite 500hp. Some of the questions I put to Jimmy were if you were to go to the Australian Outback, what truck would you have? How much horsepower, what motor? And who would be his passenger? Jimmy said he would drive a Scania V8 770 and his passenger would be his late Dad.

Thanks to Chris Murphy (as always) the boss, Burt the dispatcher who pulled the strings to get me into the private job, Jimmy the driver, and Will Cowens for getting my hard hat and some merchandise.

The big road trip Part 1

Hi, I’m Demi and I’m 11 years old, and this is my first big road trip with Grandad. He takes us kids out with him on short day runs and we take turns. This is part one of our trip from Perth to Mt Newman.

Someone has a hand on my shoulder and is shaking me gently.

“Come on sweetheart, it’s time to get up.”

It is my grandad waking me up. I am going with him today and we are driving from Perth to Mt Newman, although Grandad said that we won’t get to Newman, as he calls it, until tomorrow.

“What time is it?” I ask.

“A quarter past four and we need to get moving so come on, get dressed. I’ve got the bread in the toaster and there’s some milk in a glass for you.”

Grandad goes back to the kitchen, and I get myself dressed and clean my teeth. I packed my bag last night so I would be ready this morning.


Grandad drives road trains out of Perth going all over northwestern Australia for MTA Transport and is often away for a week or more at a time. A month ago, he went to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory and was away for 12 days. Today he has got a double road train with an excavator on his back trailer that he calls his dog and a front-end loader on his front trailer that he calls his lead.

I walk into the kitchen with my soft pack with my clothes and stuff in. Grandad has my milk and toast on the table waiting for me. I eat my breakfast and wash up before getting into the Suzuki to head to the transport yard where Grandad’s truck is.

“Why do we have to be so early?” I ask.

“Because I still have to flag up, put my banners up then put the flashing light on before we go anywhere, as well as check all the straps and chains to make sure that the load on each trailer is secure and we need to be ready to go at daybreak, which is at 5.50am this morning,” Grandad says.

“I don’t want to be late getting out and be caught behind any of those eight-meter loads that always come out on Saturday mornings.”

We get to MTA’s yard at 5:05am.

Grandad checks his truck out and starts it up. His truck is an almost new Mack superliner with a 600-horsepower engine, and it is an automatic, not an 18-speeder as he calls the other trucks that have a manual shift.

“Put your gear on the bunk and the food in the fridge Demi and then you can help me flag up,” he says to me.

We walk down the side of the truck and Grandad pulls a roll of four yellow and orange flags out of a black bag. The flags have got elastic cords running through the top end with hooks on them. Grandad is putting a hook onto a metal bar on the side in the truck at the front of the excavator and the hook on the other end onto the rail that runs under the edge of the trailer. Grandad said that it is called the rope rail. We walk a bit further down the excavator and Grandad puts another flag at the back of the track frame.

“You have to have a flag at each end of any oversized load, and you have to do the same with each trailer and on both sides of each trailer,” Grandad explains.

Grandad works down the second trailer putting flags onto the front-end loader and then we go around the other side and work our way back up to the front of the truck.

“Now we will put the oversized banner on the back and put the flashing light on the back. Then we will be ready to go – and on time too,” Grandad says.

“Why do you have to put a flashing light on the back, Grandad?” I ask.

“When you are over 2.7 meters wide, you must have flashing lights going at the front and back of the truck, and we are 3.4 meters wide this morning, so we have to have all the flashing lights as well as headlights on. That’s the law and we are not just a single oversized, but an oversized road train and the heavies will be watching, it being Saturday morning.”

“Who are the heavies, Grandad?”

“They are the Main Roads inspectors that enforce all the rules and regulations about what trucks can go where and what they can carry. It is my job to make sure all my permits are current,” he says.

“Ok sweetheart, jump in and put your seatbelt on,” Grandad says as he opens the passenger door for me. It is too high off the ground for me to reach so he lifts me up onto the fuel tank so I can get in the passenger’s door.

We get in the truck and Grandad checks to make sure that all his paperwork is up to date. He puts his paperwork folder beside his seat, puts his seatbelt on and puts the truck into gear.

“Spot on time sweetheart, ten minutes to six and we are rolling, none of those eight-meter loads have made any noise on the radio yet so let’s hope that we are in front of them all.”

We hadn’t been going for more than five minutes when the radio came to life. I didn’t understand what they were saying but Grandad said that it was one of the eight-meter loads. It must take a lot of organising because Grandad said that those eight-meter loads must have a pilot out in front and then another one behind them, and then the police traffic warden and then the eight-meter load or loads and then another pilot behind the load to stop traffic passing where it shouldn’t. I see now why Grandad wanted to get out in front of them.

We get going and are about 20 minutes up the Tonkin Highway when Grandad says, “Damn.”

“There is another big load in front of us and they are just getting ready to pull out of the Chittering Roadhouse now, so we will catch them up the other side of Bindoon in the hills. We may be stuck behind them for a while until there is a spot where they let traffic around them. When we get close, I will tell you what they are saying, and you will see what I mean.”

Forty minutes from the yard and we are getting close to Muchea. The radio is quite busy with two or three big, oversized loads getting out of Perth and Grandad said that the load that came out of the Chittering Roadhouse is just going through Bindoon and he doesn’t think we will catch them in time to get around them, so we may have to sit behind them until we get to the three lane at Long Bridge Gully, which is about 10 minutes further north. We come past the Chittering Roadhouse as another oversized load is getting ready to pull out heading north as well.

“It looks like it’s going to be a normal Saturday morning,” Grandad says.

We come down the hill and across the bridge before getting to Bindoon and the radio is going almost nonstop, and Grandad is listening to it all and I know not to talk when he is listening like that. He told me that he must know what is going on in front of us as well as behind us because being oversized we can only do the speed allowed on the permit, which is 80km/h. At that speed there are a lot of trucks coming up behind us and wanting to get past. Most of them call up on the radio.

“North bound over sized, I’m just behind you, let me know when it’s good to come around.”

Grandad waits until he knows it is safe and there is the room and calls the trucks behind us.

“North bound behind the double oversized. Get your boot into it mate, you are good to go.”

The overtaking truck or trucks get past us, and Grandad will call them to let them know they are past and can get back on the right side of the road.

“You are done mate, have a good trip.”

Five trucks pass us before we come up behind the 7.5m-wide load that came out of the Chittering Roadhouse. They are at the top of Bindoon hill and Grandad said that we have just missed getting around them on the three lanes, so we will have to wait until we get to Long Bridge Gully now before we can pass them.

We sit behind the 7.5m over size, which is a huge front-end loader. Grandad says that it is a Caterpillar 992, which he says is a big loader.

The radio goes just as we are coming up to the three lanes at Long Bridge Gully.

“MTA oversized, copy.”

Grandad picks up the microphone. “Copy pilot.”

“Great, are you good to go when I call.”

“Good to go pilot. I’m 3.4 wide and a double road train at about 65 tonnes.”

“Thanks MTA, get ready.”

“Will do,” Grandad says.

There was a lot more chatter and then:

“MTA crank her up mate, you are good to go.”

“Rodger pilot, I’m on my way.”

You can feel the difference when Grandad puts his foot down, the truck changes gear and then we start to move onto the other side of the road and slowly pass the big front-end loader. We get past and the lead pilot calls us back into the left lane.

“That made you grunt, MTA,” the lead pilot said.

“Yeah, but I will stay out of your way from now on, have a good day guys.”

Stay tuned for part two in the next issue of Little Trucker Down Under.

What a prize

Our mate Jacob is a member of Team Quality Supertruck Racing. He recently attended the race meetings at Invercargill in the South Island and Pukekohe in the North Island. Jacob takes people on trips in his own little truck – and donates the money he receives to help animals at the SPCA.

We travelled all the way to the bottom of the South Island to race at Teretonga Park Raceway in Invercargill. Peter and I played corn hole together, he made it for me. Lots of kids played with me, and we played footy and cricket. Then all the kids went for a ride on my truck.

After all the racing was finished, the team went on a ride in William the bus down to the Bluff sign.

The following week, we travelled all the way to the Pukekohe round, which was called The Final Farewell as the track has been sold. My mum and some other helpers cooked the biggest BBQ for all the teams on Friday night and my truck got used as a BBQ table. I like doing some night rides with all my lights on. Man, the guys raced hard at the end of the meet at Pukekohe.

We all went to prize giving, and my dad won the 3nz trophy and best presented for the whole team.

Hayden also received the trophy for the work he does on the race truck, The Punisher. He works hard keeping The Punisher looking good because Dad gets a bit rough on the truck sometimes. Then all of a sudden the man presenting the awards at prize giving called out my name! I was surprised and got up straight away – I received a trophy! Junior Trucker Service to the Sport award for all the work I have been doing for the SPCA. I felt emotional and didn’t know what to say besides thank you.

I went to Wellington SPCA to give the last of the money we raised from rides in my truck. I wanted the SPCA to meet my dog Carly. In total, we raised $1076 over four rounds of truck racing. Pretty amazing. I would like to thank everyone that helped me. And remember, people can help themselves but animals can’t!

Hope to see you at the track next time!

Wheels at Wanaka

Leah headed to the Wheels at Wanaka show earlier this year, and after a little road trip seeing all the stunning sites, she checked out what was on display at the amazing event.

After arriving in Dunedin, we met with my sister who studies at the University of Otago. She picked us up and we headed to Wanaka, making a few stops at Milton, Alexandra and Clyde. On the first full day in Wanaka, we had lots of fun seeing the amazing scenery as well as driving an hour out to The Blue Pools and seeing the clear, blue, cold water glisten as the sun bounced off it.

On the second day in Wanaka, Saturday, we got our tickets out and ready for Wheels at Wanaka. We arrived at 9:30am and were greeted by the friendly staff. As soon as you walk in on your right there’s a bunch of classic trucks – we’re talking Macks, Internationals, Kenworths, ERFs and more. After window shopping the trucks, we left Dad to go to the motorcross area, where we watched the dirt bikes practising for the Sunday competition of semifinals and finals. We watched a dirt biker jump over eight cones as well as two people! After checking that out we made our way to the parade ground whilst walking past the steam engines and steel wheel tractors. At the parade ground we watched the last bits of the 100 Years of Kenworths and the whole of the 50 Years of Mack truck parade.

We headed to the food trucks for lunch – I got pork dumplings! As we ate our lunch, we watched the scrapers parade. Next, we watched Haydon Paddon drive the PRG Hyundai Kona EV car around the parade ground and make a few donuts on the grass. On our way to the earthmoving pit my sister bought me a snow cone. At the earthmoving pit we watched the 1960-1980 classic earthmovers. Next, we checked out the vintage cars, some looked like they were old, like 1900s old! Next to us we had the modern tractors, classic muscle tractors and tractor pull modified show, so we watched that. Whilst my dad and sister went to the Mack pop up shop, Mum and I went to a shuttle stop near the earthmoving pit. On the way to it I was shocked by the size of the CAT 789 dump truck. Mum and I hopped on the trailer of a tractor for a free ride that took us back to the entrance as a fun way to end the day.

I loved it and will definitely come back again in two years!

After fun at Wanaka, we travelled to Te Anau to have a day trip at Milford Sound, Bluff at the bottom of New Zealand (it was very cold!), Invercargill to see the world’s fastest Indian, the highly modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle made by Burt Munro, and back to Dunedin to stay at my sister’s flat for the night! I had the best trip ever!

Some CATs hitching a ride on the mighty Kenworth

The ERF lined up

Elite Excavation’s International parked up

Christmas Dress-Ups

Jacob shares all his cool dress-up designs with his truck at some Santa parades

Big drive to Brisbane

Kiwi turned Aussie Lucas tells us all about truck life in North Queensland.

Hey guys, I’m Lucas Gallagher, and I’m 15 years old. I was born in Thames, New Zealand, but we now live in Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays in North Queensland. The town is a little bit like Queenstown in New Zealand and is based largely around tourism.

My dad Bradley drove trucks for his whole driving career in New Zealand for Main R & L Ltd, Provincial Freightlines and Paul Rudd before we moved to Australia.

Dad’s current boss owns a resort, which also has a restaurant, a bar as well as three bottle shops in town. Because we live so far from any main cities, Dad’s boss bought his own Kenworth T909 B-double for Dad to drive down to Brisbane and back, which is 13 hours each way (1100km) to pick up the alcohol and supplies each week – sometimes two times a week in the busy holiday periods.


Lucas and his Dad, Bradley

I’m lucky enough to go for rides with Dad during the school holidays. His truck is a 2019 T909 Kenworth with a 50-inch sleeper. It went to Bling Man HQ in Brisbane and got all the tanks stainless steel wrapped, with lots of lights and stainless steel everywhere. It has a custom stereo with subwoofers, so we’ve got some good tunes to listen to on the way to Brisbane.

Dad normally goes to one big warehouse in Brisbane and loads up all the alcohol the business needs for the week, then comes back up and unloads it at the hotel. After unloading the trailers, the truck gets a full wash all ready for the next trip. Lots of tourists like to ask Dad questions about the truck and take photos of it when it’s parked at the hotel.

Last year, Dad and I took the truck to the Brisbane Convoy for Kids truck show and Dad’s truck won a trophy for Truck of the Show, beating out more than 700 trucks

Here’s a few photos from my trips with Dad, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Go for it girls!

Isabella had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Russell, known as Sam, from Swanson Transport Ltd in Auckland.

One of the interesting things I learnt is that Sam is the only female operator at Swanson Transport. Six years with the company, she now proudly operates an 8-Wheeler Rear Mount Hiab – a job that she didn’t expect to be doing as a young girl but is super proud of.

You can do it, too

In a male-dominated industry, her message to young girls is, “If transport is the career path you are thinking of, and you want to operate one of these big machines, go for it! Girls and women can do the same jobs as the boys and can do it just as well!”

What Sam also loves about her role is the variety of work she gets to do while also discovering some beautiful parts of New Zealand. Getting to know the North Island well, one of her favorite drives would be to Tauranga.

Safety first

Sam knows that being an operator comes with a lot of responsibility, and safety is always key to make sure she can perform her job. Pre-checks every morning to make sure the truck is in good condition to allow her to get to her job. There are also safety checks that are done on arrival and departure from a work site. Operating these machines requires you to be alert of your surroundings, which is why it’s important to get a good night’s rest. Sam has been fortunate that Swanson Transport have been able to assist her get the licences she needs.

Hard at work
What a view
It takes a lot of skill to operate this machinery

Moo-ving Cattle

Name: Zoe
Age: 8 years old
Lives: Queensland
Can be found in: A Kenworth C509

Hey Little Truckers, my name is Zoe and I live in Queensland, Australia. I LOVE getting the chance to go with my dad in the cattle truck some school holidays. The truck is a Kenworth C509 with Cannon Trailer cattle crates.

We live in Goondiwindi, Queensland and our family owns McKelvey Livestock Haulage, which helps farmers move their cattle very big distances across Australia.

Zoe with her dad, Steve

Depending on the job, sometimes the truck has a B double hooked up (three decks), but it’s my favourite when the road train is set up because it looks huge! A road train carries six decks of cattle. When they are taking cattle into the feedlot, there are 156 head of cattle on board. That’s a lot of beef!

When I go in the truck, my favourite part is watching and helping load the cattle into the crates. When I grow up I’d like to be a Jillaroo and also drive a truck.

See you on the roads!

Meet a KW Oldie - Guy Knowles Palmeston North

Guy Knowles is the owner of Guy Knowles Transport ltd.

Kenny: Hey Guy, how long have you owned Kenworths?

Guy: Hey Kenny. I’ve owned Kenworths for over 18 year or so now but I have loved them since I was a kid, that would be before you were even on the assembly line.

Kenny: Why do you love Kenworths so much?

Guy: That’s easy, they are simply the best.

Keeping the Kenworth K200 dry and ready
Looking Stunning with a fantastic livery