Living at idyllic Mission Beach in north Queensland, Shane Jolly would be the envy of many Aussie truck drivers.
The 46-year-old drives for Blenners Transport and had parked his Kenworth at Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands when I saw him.
“I have a load of bananas as well as custard apples and limes bound for Melbourne markets,” he said.
There would be a changeover driver at Blenners big Tully depot.
I asked Jolly what he considered the worst road he gets along.
“There is no shortage of bad roads, but I think the Palmerston Highway needs attention,” he said.
Jolly enjoys stopping at the Malanda Ampol Roadhouse and the Bohle Puma near Townsville.
“They are both very good,” he said.
Jolly had a background in mining at many places around the world including PNG.
Whilst he has only been a truckie for a short period, he loves the job.
“This is the first time I have done refrigerated work and it is a learning curve which I enjoy,” he said.
A sports fan, he barracks for Carlton in the AFL and hopes the Navy Blues can make the finals series.
His other recreational passion is golf. I asked him what his handicap was. “I got it down to 21 but don’t play as much as I would like these days,” he said.
Later that day I was back in Cairns and Jolly phoned me to say he had been nervous during our talk and hoped he didn’t come across as abrupt. Which certainly wasn’t the case. Like his name I found him to be a “Jolly” truckie with a good sense of humour.
Why wouldn’t he be? Getting to live at a paradise like Mission Beach and travelling through beautiful places like Malanda.
“This is the first job where I get to be home each night and sleep in my own bed,” he said in conclusion.
I spoke to Jolly by phone some days later and he was on a farm at Walkamin on the Kennedy Highway between Tolga and Mareeba loading bananas.