Three months ago Troy O’Neill purchased a second hand Isuzu with over 250,000km on the clock and he’s glad he did.
O’Neill, 31, grew up in Charters Towers and is now based in Townsville where he runs his own business Top Flow Plumbing and Gas.
His pride and joy is a 2013 model NPR 300 with a big cab, which carries everything he needs.
“It carries my tools and gear and is also my mobile office,” he said.
Big Rigs recently saw O’Neill in the sleepy Townsville suburb of Cranbrook.
The Isuzu was also towing his trusty digger which is an integral part of his operation.
With him was his five-year-old son Tyler who O’Neill said just loves trucks and machinery.
“My dad Gary is up here from the Gold Coast so I stopped in to see him,” O’Neill said.
Quietly spoken O’Neill says his work took him 900km west out to Mount Isa, 400km south to Mackay and 350km to northern Cairns.
“Basically I will go anywhere around north Queensland and I also have an apprentice working for me. We do a lot of jobs with solar panels and at pubs,” he said.
The latter is perfect to have a cold beer after a hard day’s work in the tropic heat.
Speaking of that, O’Neill said he faced severe hot conditions a few weeks ago.
“It was 42 degrees with 94 per cent humidity and we got cooked that day. I am almost immune to it,” he said.
The worst road O’Neill gets along is between Hughenden and Richmond which is a 100km stretch on the Flinders Highway. “It is like driving over big waves,” he said.
With much expensive gear on the back of the Isuzu, O’Neill had two guard dogs.
“They are named Kaos and a Fox Terrier bitch called Jo-Jo,” he said.
This young driver said that rising fuel costs were very hard to absorb even for operators like himself who owns a light rig.
His favourite roadhouses are the Puma Gold City on the outskirts of Charters Towers and another at Calcium located about 50km west of Townsville.
“They have plenty of parking and good food and lots of trucks pull up at both,” he said.
His hobbies outside work include pig hunting around Charters Towers and rugby league football.
“I barrack for the Cowboys in the NRL and before they entered I was a St George Dragons fan,” he said.
A few times a year O’Neill also plays in northern All Blacks carnivals as a front row forward for Charters Towers team Black Bream.
“It is named after black bream fish in the Burdekin River which founding members caught and still do,” he said.
A regular occurrence which amuses O’Neill are the number of young male and female tourists he sees “having a call of nature” beside a highway in clear view of traffic.
“On the odd occasion I have seen overseas females chuck a browneye as I drive past,” he said.
The dirtiest jobs O’Neill gets to do is cleaning drains as he never knows what he will find.
“I have been covered in dirt and crap many times doing this,” he said.
Having done the job for 12 years it has grown on O’Neill, who can’t see himself doing anything else.
The first truck O’Neill drove was a Sterling tip truck.