Having milked cows for a living for 30 years, Jimmy Tatham has great knowledge of the dairy industry but has been happy being a truckie for the past five years.
Tatham said he worked on farms around Colac in Victoria and Toomba in NSW for three decades milking cows and had enjoyed it.
“But life as a driver is great because there is so much freedom when you are on the roads,” he said.
Tatham, 51, was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Kenworth K200 when Big Rigs saw him at a rest area near Injune and was happy to have a chat on New Year’s Day.
“I don’t mind working on New Year’s Day and also did on Christmas Day. It is so hot outside and makes you appreciate the air conditioning in the truck cabin, which has a 550hp Cummins motor and an 18 speed Roadranger gearbox,” he said.
It was almost 40 degrees so we sat on one of the concrete table and chairs to yarn about his trucking career.
“I live in Sydney and have worked for Exodas for three years. I came up from our Yatala depot with plants for Bunnings in Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and the Atherton tablelands. Coming back to Sydney I have mangoes and limes from Mareeba for NSW markets,” he said.
Tatham said the Rolleston to Springsure Highway and the Gregory Development Road between Charters Towers and Clermont were the worst he gets on.
“The Towers to Clermont road has rough shoulders in many places and is dangerous and truckies have to try and stay out of them. And it is up and down and bouncy. The Flinders Highway between Richmond and Hughenden and near Julia Creek are also bad,” he said.
As for roadhouses, Tatham rates the Gregory Highway BP at Clermont high on his list of favourites.
“They have showers and good toilets and the food is great. Also the people are friendly. The BP Cluden at Townsville is also good,” he said.
Tatham hasn’t been affected greatly by Covid-19 regulations and has had his two vaccination jabs. He has driven trucks in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
The first truck he drove was an old Isuzu when he was employed by Australia Post at Kempsey in NSW.
He enjoys fishing on the Gold Coast when off work, hoping to catch whiting and flathead which make for a tasty meal,
On the front of his Kenworth were hundreds of dead insects. “I went through a road where millions of grasshoppers were,” he said.