Careers & Training

Trucking’s a sweet gig for this North Qld cane farmer

Mathew Di Mauro is a 32-year-old cane farmer from El Arish and is also a truck driver who recommends a career in the road transport industry to youngsters.

His well-known nickname is Wally – or Wally the Worker – and he loves El Arish which is located between Townsville and Cairns.

During the season he drives a cane harvester cutting 98,000-tonne on contract and also grows 9,700 tonnes of his own cane.

In the slack season he maintains his cane farm and works in the shed at home doing up the harvester and bin tractors for the following season and drives for Blenners Transport most afternoons after work at the shed.

Driving for Blenners, which has a big depot beside the Bruce Highway near Tully, he carts fruit such as bananas, avocados, mangoes and limes.

“Top end trips are between Cairns to Atherton Tablelands or a night shuttle to Townsville where there is a changeover in drivers who cart produce south,” Di Mauro told Big Rigs.

Di Mauro’s family has a K-104 Kenworth as part of their farming business which transports local machinery in the area all year round.

“The busiest time of the year is transporting Di Mauro’s cane harvester and farming equipment and other local harvesters during the season.

“Di Mauro’s Family Farms are spread out over the Tully district so having their own truck and float comes in handy,” Di Mauro said.

In his little spare time he’s always with the family, wife Sarah and two beautiful daughters Savannah and Sophia.

“Normally time is spent fishing down the back of the farm catching Barramundi, riding motor bikes round the farm or swimming in the fresh water creek that runs from the mountains behind El Arish or at the other farm on other side of El Arish.

“The creeks behind home are tidal where we catch Barra. We always have to be more wary of crocodiles on the farm these days. We recently spotted a 3.5m croc sun baking last week on the creek bank of the farm,” he said.

“I also had a Kenworth T408 which has sold. When I was aged 18 I had my first truck along with my dad Sam. Back then we used to Transport machinery to Sydney and Brisbane before the cane farm expanded,” he added.

Since Di Mauro gave up playing rugby league football for Tully Tigers in the Cairns and District comp as a front row forward a few years ago, he had tried to maintain his fitness and keeping healthy since most of his jobs are sitting in machinery.

I asked Di Mauro what was his favourite roadhouse during his travels over the past years and he said it would have to be the BP Cluden at Townsville.

“The food is good and I like the Caesar salad. Facilities for truckies are good,” he said.

I told Di Mauro that the average age of male truck drivers was over 50 and he said that these days he sees more and more young drivers.

“I would recommend being a truckie to any youngster who wants a good career and will have a go,” he said.

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