Based in Mount Garnet in Far North Queensland, Smith Brothers Transport has been a respected company in the industry for more than 30 years.
The company is comprised of brothers Denis and Brian Smith, who have been working together since they were boys, for their father Roy Smith, who was in transport in the early 1960s at Julia Creek in the Queensland outback.
After many years working in different areas throughout Far North Queensland, logging and then contract mustering, the pair began Smith Brothers Transport in the early 1990s.
The move into the transport industry gave the brothers an opportunity to expand, beginning by carting a few cattle with a body truck to buying a prime mover and a couple of trailers. Transporting everything from hay to farming equipment to peanuts, they even had side tippers for a couple of years.
As their slogan says, “Everything for the man on the land”. To this day, they stay true to that.
The Smiths now predominately cart cattle, with flat tops to also transport hay, cotton and general freight.
All trucks are white Kenworths with the iconic red arrow, and cattle crates are red with the white arrow.
They have a fleet of five trucks, with the newest bought last year – a Kenworth T909 that they’ve named Captain Albert Jacka VC MC & Bar.
It was a long process to choose the name for Brian’s new truck, as the original ‘Lucifer’s Peril’ has been so iconic.
Many names were thrown around, but at the end of it all, a true Australian hero won out, a symbol of Australia’s strength and courage.
Each truck has its own name and story. There’s even a story about the line written on the bunk of the trucks: Just Another Hillbilly Show, Hillbilly Deluxe, Hillbilly Warrior, Hillbilly ANZAC.
Someone made the remark that the Smiths were just another Hillbilly show, which the Smiths found amusing, so they used it. Every truck after the original ‘Just Another Hillbilly Show’ had a hillbilly something written on it, except for Denis’ newest truck.
Denis’ Kenworth C509 was built in 2020, the same year as the James Bond film No Time to Die was released, which seemed to suit the truck down to a T as the rego reads 007-shaken, Not Stirred.
It is a genuine outback family business and Louise Smith has been working alongside her husband Brian for 40 years, doing everything from cooking and being an incredible parent to their four children (and working a part-time job) to driving six decks of cattle crates throughout Cape York.
She’s even carting cotton down to Emerald these days. Over the years, Louise has been instrumental in the running of Smith Brothers, doing the office work and anything else that’s needed.
Maxine has also been working with her husband Denis since their bull-catching days.
Living life rough to driving across the countryside so their three children could play sports while helping the business wherever she could, she is now driving the gas ute to Cairns and back to Mt Garnet before returning to the farm at Dimbulah, still doing many kilometres.
Maxine’s time is taken up by keeping the farm at Dimbulah running, feeding animals and maintaining the property.
Ian Davies has been working in the Australian transport industry for over 30 years, with a brief stint back home in New Zealand.
He’s still a proud Kiwi, ensuring he buys New Zealand products wherever he can.
Ian drives one of the company’s trucks, a Kenworth T909, mainly carting general freight and cotton.
Over many years with the company, he’s carted everything from portaloos to old army tanks, to oversized loads and cattle.
Brian and Louise’s son, Edward, works for the business as the head maintenance bloke and boiler maker, he is very busy with the company – and is fully equipped to build their own Smith Brothers Transport Equipment trailers and dollies.
Edward likes to unwind in his off hours by working on his stock car, which he has raced in Herberton, Springmount and Cairns. The red car and white arrow distinguish it, and we all know red goes faster.
Brian and Louise’s daughter Alex has worked for her parents on and off for five years, first just helping around the office and cooking and cleaning.
Now, Alex manages all the NHVAS Compliance and recently started doing the invoicing for Louise while she is driving.
She is studying to become a qualified Safety Officer in her spare time.
Over the years, Big Rigs has spoken to several Smiths Bros drivers, and the company now employs four people whilst Brian, Denis and Louise all drive as well.
One of them is dedicated truckie Graham Fraser who had parked his 2015 Kenworth triple next to the Flinders Highway outside the Caltex Calcium Roadhouse when Big Rigs saw him at about 1pm on July 14.
More than 50m long, it was an imposing sight on a section of the Flinders Highway frequented by numerous triples and quad road trains.
Fraser, 48, loves working for the company, which also has a depot at Dimbulah.
“I have barb wire and stock lick for Amber Station at Mount Surprise from Townsville,” he said.
Fraser has worked for this company for two years and likes stopping at the BP Cluden Roadhouse in Townsville.
“The food there is good and I like a nice steak. The amenities, such as toilets and showers, are always clean,” he said.
The day I saw him Fraser had just walked into the Calcium Roadhouse for some food.
“I ended up buying a chiko roll there,” he said.
He nominated the most challenging road he gets along as the dirt highway to Weipa on Western Cape York.
“When I go up that way I stop at the Archer River Roadhouse which is a good place for drivers,” he said.
Outside work, Fraser loves riding horses and barracks for the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.
His Kenworth is dubbed Lucifer’s Peril and I asked him how that came about. “I don’t really know,” he said.