The team at Glen Kearney Transport in Barooga, NSW, has celebrated a milestone moment with a very special delivery.
In these current times, to run and grow a family transport business successfully for 25 years is a considerable achievement, and there is no better way to mark the occasion than with the arrival of a flagship truck.
For the team at Glen Kearney Transport, which is based out of Barooga in New South Wales, the quarter-century milestone was celebrated with the arrival of a tricked-up Kenworth T909 in December 2022, with family member Jack Kearney being handed the keys just prior to Christmas.
Coincidentally, this year Jack is also turning 25, having worked in the transport industry since leaving school. He had the T909 on display just up the road from Barooga as part of the Berrigan Show and Shine in mid-January and spoke of the long term plans the family had to mark the 25-year anniversary.
“We thought we would do something special, seeing we have been 25 years in operation, and the old man (Glen) has always wanted a T909. When I started driving for him in 2018 we made a bit of a plan that one day it would happen. From the time we ordered it, it was 18 months until we picked it up in December last year.”
The Kenworth was supplied through Graham Thompson Motors in Shepparton, and upon leaving Kenworth’s Bayswater factory spent another four and a half months getting kitted out with a variety of accessories to make the truck stand out from the rest.
“Everything I wanted on it is on it. It went to Custom Air and got the bunk cooler, tv and microwave. It was fitted out with tipper hydraulics and Dean Laws in Cobram did the signwriting and paint – everyone along the way has been really good to deal with,” he said.
The Glen Kearney Transport fleet today numbers six trucks, working across tautliners, tippers and flat-top operation and has its origins back in the late 1990s with a couple of bonneted Fords hitting the roads in the Riverina.
“He started with a LTS and an LNT doing containers out of Tocumwal across to Corowa, and they have kept pretty busy – from the Fords then to a Western Star and a number of Kenworth models,” Jack said.
“Both my uncles are now working with us. We were able to find a bit more work and we have gone from there. Around here there’s always something to do. If you want to work, you will soon find it.”
Jacks’ career in transport started upon finishing school, just over the Murray River in Cobram, working for Brian Hicks Transport.
“I did two years there and got a few certificates in transport logistics and warehousing,” Jack explained.
“I was working out of the office a couple of days a week on the operations side of things and also doing the local deliveries and picking up market freight.”
Heading back over the river to work in the family business Jack first drove a Kenworth T401 with a single tipper before moving on to a K200 cab-over, then an older T604 before getting into the saddle of the T909.
‘Sleepless Nights’ has been inscribed on the bonnet of the T909, with the truck going to work once the sun goes down, running six nights a week on an Australia Post mail contract between Seymour and Wodonga.
“Sleepless nights, that goes along with the job! We bought that mail run off Graeme Pollard from Benalla in 2019, and it has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. With Covid everyone is shopping online so we are always fully loaded. We run from Sunday night to Friday night.”
While the T909 is on a set run towing a single tautliner, the rest of the Glen Kearney fleet works throughout the Riverina and further afield, and needless to say the wheels are kept rolling during the summer harvest season.
“We run grain and also do a bit of hay and machinery. I also cart a bit of grain. If I can get the old man to do the mail a couple of nights a week I will hook the tippers on and do that for a change,” he said.
The distinctive paint scheme with its blue highlights and gold scrolls on the T909 is from the paintbrush of Dean Laws and has now been adopted as the Kearney company colours which will adorn another T909 and a Legend SAR which are on order and will arrive later in 2023.
“The paint scheme is how we will go from here. Dean does a great job – they are all hand-painted scrolls and lines. You could have three white trucks parked there and they all look the same but what he does with the paintbrush can really set them apartou want to be able to make them your own,” he said.
Most would agree that the Kearney T909 is both a head-turner and is a fitting tribute to mark a quarter-century of operation.
No doubt both the truck and its young driver will be key components of the success of the Kearney operation as they together embark on the next 25 years.