Veteran owner-operator Mal Wyton from the small sleepy hamlet of outback Muttaburra is committed to the road transport industry in the outback and also has a share with two other truckies in the local hotel.
Wyton is aged 65 and drives a 2003 Kenworth 904 powered by a 620hp motor and with an 18-speed Road Ranger gearbox.
Muttaburra is 650km from coastal Townsville and 210km from Hughenden. A lot of the nearby roads are dirt.
“I transport cattle as far away as Brisbane, Rockhampton, Oakey, Townsville, and anywhere in between, mainly from stations to meatworks and feedlots, and some for live export. Muttaburra is located in the centre of Queensland,” he told Big Rigs.
Wyton, his wife Sue and road transport industry couples Ken and Pam Midson, Fiona and Peter Turnbull have purchased the Muttaburra Exchange Hotel.
“Ken and Pam are from Tasmania and come up here for around three months of the year. Peter, Ken and I each have trucks. We get a lot of passing through drivers stop at the pub for a meal,” he said.
The partners have built a truckie’s shed and bar out the back of the pub with a great barbecue.
But they have so far resisted any temptation to follow the lead of the Exchange Hotel at Coen in the Far North, where somebody climbed into the roof and wrote a large ‘S’ at the beginning of the watering hole’s title.
Born at Toowoomba, Wyton arrived in Muttaburra with his family at age 10 and loves the outback life, where the people are friendly.
“My dad Doug originally purchased the business,” he said.
The road transport industry has been a genuine family affair for Wyton whose brother Gordon had owned Brisbane based G&D Partners which ran 40 trucks.
“His sons Michael and Troy took it over and they now have two depots. Michael does a western run to Mt Isa and Troy mainly local and container work,” he said.
Muttaburra is one of the outback places where alleged sightings of the Min Min Light are reported from time to time.
Whilst many are skeptical about its existence, Wyton said he knows it does exist.
“I saw it once when I was young, and it was a huge ball of light which passed near me when I opened a gate to a property. Then it disappeared,” he said.
Wyton likes stopping at the Morven Roadhouse beside the Warrego Highway and 250km west of Brisbane when in that area.
As for the worst road he gets along, Wyton had this to say: “Roads are what you make them,” he said.