Truckie Profiles

Navigating Queensland’s outback


Travelling right across Queensland, from west to east and back again, this truckie knows this 900km route – and its rough outback roads – like the back of his hand.

57-year-old truckie Garry McDonald drives a 2012 Freightliner with a DD15 565hp motor and an 18 speed gearbox for Mount Isa Metal Recyclers. “I carry scrap metal and general and do two return trips between Mount Isa and Townsville weekly,” he said.

That’s a 900km journey each way, mostly along a challenging Flinders Highway.

“The worst section is between Julia Creek and Cloncurry and between Hughenden and Richmond is also rough,” McDonald said.

Big Rigs caught up with him at the Townsville Port Access Road where he was hooking up trailers. He said his favourite roadhouses are the Lights on the Hill just past Hughenden and the Charters Towers Gold City Puma.

“There is lots of parking near both, you can get a decent meal and good staff,” he said.

Born in New Zealand, McDonald resides in Mount Isa. He’s lived in Australia since he was a baby.

“I was in the Army for 18 years and served at Brisbane, Townsville and Perth and got to drive Unimog, Mack and S-Line trucks,” he said.

This hard-working was glowing in his praise for his boss Bob Glanville. “Without a doubt Bob is the best boss I have ever had,” he said.

As for rest areas, McDonald likes stopping off at the Scrubby Creek pull-over area 60km from Cloncurry and at Torrens Creek on the coastal side of Hughenden.

Having the same name as famous Aussie actor satirist and comedian Garry McDonald – known as Norman Gunston – has provided some humourous moments for this truckie. “I do get that mentioned quite a bit,” he said.

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