Transporting kangaroo, pig and deer carcasses is part of a day’s work for truck driver Darryl Campbell and his assistant Travis Ferris.
They work for S&T Bechly Transport based at Kilcoy and were in a 2015 Western Star 4900 FXT when Big Rigs saw them on a steamy hot day.
You could tell how happy they are in the job from the big juicy smiles they had on their faces as we talked.
“I have been driving for around three decades and like it. This load from Glen Innes and Tamworth in NSW is going to Adelaide,” said Campbell, 53.
Ferris, 23, was learning the ropes from the experienced Campbell who was proving an ideal mentor.
They like stopping at the Yunta Roadhouse in SA where the staff are friendly, the facilities clean and the food tasty.
“We also stop at the Warwick Roadhouse to pick up a coffee when down there,” Ferris added.
Campbell said the road between Moree and Collarenabri is one which needs extreme care to travel on. He and Ferris also both feel more rests areas are required for truckies.
“There is often lots of vans taking up the space at many rest areas and that doesn’t leave room for trucks,” Ferris said.
The Western Star is powered by a Detroit 500hp motor with an 18 speed gearbox and both the lads.
I noticed the Western Star is named ‘Business Class’ for which Campbell provided an explanation. “There is a lot of room inside and it is like staying at a business class accommodation place,” he said.
They were both glowing in their praise for their boss Simon who treats them well.
“We are treated first class,” Campbell added.
It was good to yarn with Campbell who has a wealth of knowledge about the road transport industry and I found their load very interesting, which sparked some great personal memories.
You don’t see many truckies these days transporting dead animals such as pigs.
However that was not always the case and I can fondly recall covering many hog n dog events at places like Clermont in Central Queensland, also at Kynuna and Richmond in outback Queensland.
Hunters would bring feral pigs into wild game chillers from where they would be transported in refrigerated trailers to markets around Australia.
The truckies tasked with transporting these carcasses would get to spend a few days at the events and as a bonus would see bush entertainment such as the popular wet t-shirt competitions.
A lot of the carcasses were exported to European countries for ingredients in salami.
But markets dried up and there is not many operating wild game chillers anymore.
There was also another pig hunting event at Mena Creek near Innisfail but these animals would be brought in to a weigh-in area near the hotel and later buried.
I have fond memories of doing numerous stories in Big Rigs, the first of which was in 2006, about aptly named truckie Doug Freese, who used to pick up the pig and kangaroo carcasses from many wild game chillers.
Freese had a King Kong mascot on the front of his Kenworth when he worked for Robinson Transport based at Esk.
He would place King Kong near the flashy red Kenworth when it was parked.
“It is better than a guard dog as people see it and don’t get too close. Some have a huge laugh and yarn about how we got it,” Freese said back then.
I often wonder if Freese is still a truck driver, having last seen him in 2007.