Careers & Training

Young truckie kicking goals

When young driver Lorna Cunningham parked a UD truck in the main street of Herberton, it was evident that she is quite a popular local identity.

Aged 24, Cunningham lives at Herberton on the Atherton Tablelands and works as a driver for Followmont, from its depot at Mareeba about 50km away.

Before she could drop off some goods to a local eatery a woman just across the street asked her to come over and then gave her a big hug.

As I was snapping her photos at least 10 people driving past in cars in the normally sleepy town gave her a big wave.

“Everybody knows me around here and I love the people and the job,” she said.

Cunningham delivers goods around the region and has been in the job for 18 months.

I asked what inspired her to become a truck driver. “My father Tony Hill was a truckie and he told me to become one as it is a stable job and he was right,” she said.

Cunningham thanked Followmont for giving her a start in the industry and was glowing in her praise of boss Travis Keel.

“I get treated very well and the drivers are good,” she said.

The Wondecla Roadhouse.

When on the job, she likes stopping at the Wondecla Roadhouse near Herberton and the Tolga Bakery.

Many drivers have told Big Rigs they enjoy a break at that Wondecla establishment.

Herberton is a historical town with strong links to the past with the road transport industry.

One of the most famous drivers was the late legendary Darby Camp who is depicted standing in front of his old 1948 Morris Commercial truck on a mural which is on the side of a building beside the main street.

Camp also has a local park named after him and is honoured at the Herberton Historical Village and Museum.    

“I know of Darby and what he did. He is still talked about,” Cunningham said.

Camp lived in Herberton all his life, apart from his wartime service overseas, and passed away at the Herberton Hospital at the age of 85 in 2001. 

Quietly spoken Camp bought the truck, affectionately known as the ‘Old Girl’, from a Malanda farmer in 1956 and used it for general cartage around town. 

It would transport bags of mail for the Post Office, kegs of beer for the hotels, papers for the newsagent, and merchandise for general stores like Jack and Newell’s, and Armstrong, Ledlie and Stillman (A.L&S). 

He would often use it as a removal truck carrying furniture and household goods to the railway station when people were transferred out of town. 

When the rail link from Atherton closed, the truck regularly transported goods up the steep Herberton range from Atherton. 

His Morris Commercial had a four-cylinder OHC 2.2 litre petrol engine and was licensed to carry 25cwt. 

It was restored by Herberton local Luke Schuch and is now on display at the Herberton Historical Village.

I fondly recall doing a feature story on Camp and his Morris about 30 years ago in the now defunct magazine ‘Aussie Post’.

Camp used to give drinkers at Herberton’s Royal Hotel – who would have been over the limit – a lift home in the back of the Morris.

I reckon that if Camp was watching from the Truckies Happy Hunting Ground up above he would be proud of young Cunningham.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend