When Big Rigs called Paul Haworth for a chat, he was loading hydrochloric acid, bound for Tropicana Gold Mine.
Haworth, 54, grew up in England, just south of Manchester, where his father had a haulage company. He moved to Perth in 1987 and is now based in the town of Australind, near Bunbury, which he has called home since 2000.
Though he started driving trucks on the family farm in England when he was just 10 years old, he didn’t get his licence until he moved down under, at the age of 21.
Haworth works for B&J Catalano, where he has been for the past 17 years. “I do all the dangerous goods stuff. I’m based at a titanium dioxide plant. We look after all the raw materials here, then move the product around. The hydrochloric acid I’m currently loading is a by-product, and we bring that to the gold mines,” he explained.
“With the hydrochloric acid, it’s all tanker work, but sometimes I jump on the float as well. The furthest I travel is along the Great Central Road to the Gruyere gold mine; and Tropicana, which is the most remote gold mine in the southern hemisphere. Generally all the gold mines are within a 500 kilometre radius of Kalgoorlie. We generally cover all of the gold fields with the hydrochloric acid and do a lot of float work for the iron ore industry.”
Haworth says B&J Catalano is a great company to work for, with the number of long-term employees testament to that. “Most employees have been here for 12-15 years, some even past 25 years. It’s still a family owned company and they are very good to their employees and really look after you as well. They just bought me a brand new 2021 Mack Superliner to drive a few months ago.
“I absolutely love the new truck – I really like the Macks. Ergonomically, I think they’re the best trucks on the market. The Volvo technology, which is miles ahead, has been put into these, and the fuel economy on the MP10 motors is impressive.”
Speaking to Haworth, it’s clear he loves what he does. “I love travel, when I’m not working I go out travelling. I like the freedom of being out and about. I couldn’t do office work or anything like that. Once you’re out on the road, you’re your own boss pretty much. You can just cruise along and listen to audio books or podcasts,” he said.
Though he acknowledges that the driver shortage is a problem for the industry. “The whole industry at the moment is really struggling. The government needs to get involved with training schemes and offer incentives to get more people into the transport industry – but it’s very difficult for companies to put two people in one truck and then have to pay two wages while they train someone. Everyone seems to be undercutting to get people into the job. Thankfully where I am, we rarely struggle to get drivers.”
If you’re an outback truckie and would like to be part of Truckin’ in the Outback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.