Truckie Profiles

Heading into the tropics

Clayton Walker was driving an Iveco Stralis for Mainfreight when Big Rigs saw him one evening, carrying general goods from the south, bound for Townsville, Cairns and Mareeba.

He said fuel costs were a major problem for the industry at present.

Aged 44, Walker was checking his load when he pulled up at the BP Cluden Roadhouse.

“I have a backload of produce to pick up at Mareeba for the Brisbane markets,” he said.

Based at Brisbane, Walker said there was “definitely not enough quality rest areas for drivers in Queensland”.

“There are a lot beside the Newell Highway in Victoria,” he said.

His favourite roadhouse is at Larapinta in Brisbane, as he said it was good for truck drivers.

Walker’s hobbies outside work include water skiing on a dam at Toowoomba.

“It is full at the moment with all the rain down there,” he said.

Walker has been a truckie for decades and an owner-operator for the past four years.

Like many other drivers, he keeps a gas cooker with him. “I love cooking steak on it and that shows I support the Australian beef industry. Salad with it is also good,” he said.

It had been very hot in the tropics for the previous week with temperatures reaching 35°C.

However just before I spoke to Walker the heavens opened up over Townsville, which produced welcome amounts of rain. It also reduced the heat, making it much more comfortable for truckies like Walker.

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