This truckie has done something that no other truck driver I have spoken to in the past 10 years has – that is to have a break in his sleeper box off the Flinders Highway at the top of the Burra Range between Torren’s Creek and Pentland in north Queensland after dark.
Located approximately 80km north-east of Hughenden and 140km south-west of Charters Towers, Burra Range is famous for the alleged night-time presence of a “Yowie” or hairy man creature.
Numerous truckies I have spoken to won’t even stop there after dark for a piddle, let alone sleep there.
“I have slept there in my sleeper box and it was a funny feeling but I never saw a Yowie,” Paul Frahn said.
Aged 60, he drives a Mack for Lowes Petroleum and hauls fuel to places as far away as Mount Isa and Longreach.
Mount Isa is 900km from his coastal Townsville base along the Flinders and Barkly Highways and the route is busy with heavy vehicle traffic.
He was checking on the trailers of his triple road train when I saw him recently at the Townsville Port Access Road.
“I have been a truckie since 1978 and like stopping at the Cloncurry Roadrunner Roadhouse and Torrens Creek Hotel when away working,” he said.
The Torrens Creek Pub is a place where many people have stopped over the years claiming to have seen a Yowie whilst negotiating the route at night.
A national television program even went there some years back and interviewed several drivers who claimed to have had a Yowie encounter.
However many believe a Yowie doesn’t exist and is just a figment of the imagination.
Born in South Australia, Frahn later moved to the Northern Territory in 1987 where he drove trucks before relocating to Townsville 13 years later.
Frahn said he has had both Covid-19 vaccinations and hasn’t been affected by the pandemic to any major degree. “We are lucky as there has not been much of it up north in Townsville.”
Though Frahn believes the area he travels in could do with some more rest areas. “But we learn to plan our trips so as to be able to stop at the good ones there are,” he said.
The first trucks he drove were a British-manufactured Commer and a 1976 Kenworth.
His hobbies outside work are gardening and watching western movies, especially ones starring the late and great John Wayne.