Based on the Gold Coast, Sienna Hickey began driving trucks four years ago, but her foray into the industry began much sooner.
“My dad used to drive interstate for Brown and Hurley and SPD Transport. He had his own tipper business too. And was a policeman for 15 years before that. So he started me off on the trucks pretty early. Ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was to drive trucks. I was always in the truck with dad whenever I got the chance, especially on school holidays,” said Hickey.
“Dad taught me to drive when I was about 16 or 17, that’s when I was really getting into trucks. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and the older I got and the more time I spent riding dirt bikes and getting into the car scene, I started to learn more and more about trucks and made the decision to drive trucks for a living.
“I find it amazing how big these trucks are and the skill it takes to drive them. I’ve also always admired the heavy haulage industry.”
Hickey now works for Heavy Machinery Transport (HMT), which is based in Ipswich.
She joined the business around 12 months ago and does truck and dog work, travelling as far north as Rockhampton and down south as far as Sydney.
“We go wherever the work takes us really. The big trips are the better ones – they’re awesome. I love the long drives and the truck stays cleaner for longer!”
At HMT, Hickey now drives a flash set of wheels that she takes great pride in. “I drive a 2017 Kenworth K200 and have been in that one for about three months. My boss took a big leap of faith with me to put me in such an expensive truck. I started off in an old R Model Mack with a tri dog and no dolly lock. Then an opportunity arose and I was fortunate enough to drive a Kenworth T409SAR with a quad dog. After proving myself in that truck, I’m absolutely stoked to have moved up to my current truck,” she explained.
“Reversing a truck and dog without a dolly lock is much more difficult when you’re learning but I’m grateful they threw me in the deep end because I’ve never had to use the dolly lock in any of my trucks. It will also make the B-double work much easier when I get there.”
And that’s Hickey’s ultimate goal. Since scoring her MC licence in February, she’s hoping to one day progress to something bigger. “My end goal is to get into the B-doubles, doing interstate work. That’s where I want to be eventually.”
Prior to her current role at HMT, Hickey worked for a horse transport company and says the experience she gained was invaluable. “It was the best thing I ever did as it pretty much taught me the foundations of driving a truck and how to make the trip as safe and comfortable as possible for the horses interstate and local. Again I’m so grateful to the people there who gave me a chance and taught me so much,” she said.
Hickey also likes to keep her truck looking schmick. “I’m washing the truck now as I’m speaking to you,” she admitted. “I like to clean all my chrome every second day but once a week will suffice. I’m pretty particular though.”
Recently, Hickey entered the truck into various award categories at the Mt Gravatt and Lowood truck shows. At Mt Gravatt, the gold-coloured K200, named ‘Stylish’, took out second place in both the Best Tipper and Best Women’s Truck categories. “I didn’t win anything at Lowood but I’m glad I went because I made a lot of new great mates and it’s great to admire everyone’s pride and joy and how much effort goes into building and getting ready for these shows,” she said.
For those considering a career as a truckie, Hickey’s advice is, “No question is a stupid question, ask as many as you can. You never stop learning. Never become complacent. Do everything at your own pace and don’t try and rush getting into the big flash trucks. A lot of people come into the industry wanting to drive something flash, but you need to gain the experience first and I was reminded of this by the people who have guided me and who I look up to.
“I really enjoy the challenge of the truck and dog work. You’ve always got to be on the ball watching not only what you’re doing but what everyone around you is doing too. There are some awesome people in this industry who have been extremely supportive and I’ve made a lot of great mates who I call upon for help when I have questions. I’m still outnumbered, but it’s great when you see other women driving trucks too.”
So does Hickey see this as a long-term career? She answered without hesitation, “100 per cent. I’ll do it until I retire,” she said.
“I also encourage more women to get into the industry and to not worry about the people who say you can’t. Just do what you love and don’t waste your time doing something you hate.”