Features, Truck events

Date set for truck driver memorial service and convoy

The White Hill Truck Drivers Memorial Service and Convoy will return on Saturday, November 4, to honour truck drivers who have lost their lives.

Located in Murray Bridge, SA, the wall was founded by semi-retired veteran truck driver Keith Wood, who has been on the road for over 40 years.

His vision for the wall came to fruition with the help of volunteers and donations. There were 27 names commemorated on the wall at the unveiling of the monument on November 23, 2013, however now there are over 100.

A second-generation truck driver, Wood says the idea for the wall came about because his father, uncle and two brothers-in-law have their names on the Australian Truck Drivers Memorial Wall in Tarcutta in NSW. He wanted to be able to honour truck drivers who have lost their lives – either on the job or by other causes – that was closer to home.

“I also had friends of mine in Murray Ridge who would take their mother, who is in her late 80s, to Tarcutta for the memorial, and it would cost them up to $1500 for the weekend, so I decided to create a memorial wall here in Murray Bridge,” said Wood.

He added that he wanted to build something locally in South Australia and a have place close by for families to visit.

So far, Wood says there are four names that are confirmed to be added to the wall this year.

The special day will begin with a convoy, with trucks meeting at White Hill. Each truck will wear a banner and head down the hill towards the White Hill Truck Drivers Memorial, where they will line up and toot their air horn ahead of the service that will take place at 11am.

Though there was previously a truck show component to the day, this has taken a hiatus following Covid, however Wood is hoping it can return in 2024. “It was hard after Covid and has been hard to get volunteers. But we’re hoping to build it back up. Last year we had over 300 people attend, and 20 trucks in the convoy,” he said. “We’re hoping to get more trucks involved in the convoy this year.”

On the left hand side of the White Hill Memorial Wall are the names of truck and bus drivers who have been killed on the job. While the right hand side bears the names of truck and bus drivers who have died by other causes.

There are also two plaques commemorating two young children who tragically lost their lives in a truck accident.

Livestock carriers Sharon and Darren Hourn were travelling in their truck on Easter Monday 1995, together with their toddlers, two-year-old Tamika and one-year-old Khaleb, when the unthinkable happened.

A tragic accident cut the lives of these two toddlers short, and left Sharon fighting for life.

After a long road to recovery, Sharon became a qualified Lifeline counsellor, working to support drivers, and in particular those who had been involved in an accident.

She has continued this mission since 2008, setting up at roadhouses and truck stops, where she also conducts driver health checks.

On the White Hill Memorial Wall Tamika and Khaleb are depicted shooting an arrow over to each other.

For information on having a name added to the wall ahead of this year’s convoy and service, email Cathie at keithandcathie@bigpond.com.

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