Three generations make it a real family affair at Morgan Transport

all in the family

Alan, Raymond and Nicholas Johnstone are three generations of a family who all work for the big north Queensland transport company Morgan Transport.

Grandfather Alan is aged 79, his son Raymond is 50 and Nick, as he is known, is the grandson at the tender age of 24.

Alan has been with the company for five years, Raymond for nine  and Nick for seven, making it a real family affair.

In a strange twist to the story, Nick is the boss of Alan, who is 55 years older, but the youngest of the trio has no authority over his father Raymond.

Based at Bohle, just north of Townsville, the family-owned company employs 86 drivers both fulltime and casual, nine mechanics, 11 depot loaders and unloaders and 12 office staff. The company has 89 trucks and 126 trailers.

Morgan’s retail services division transports Bega dairy products all over North Queensland and south to Brisbane. The road train and general freight division services mining and construction projects to the Bowen Basin and as far west as the Tanami Mine.

I sat with the Morgan Transport trio in a demountable building at the depot and it was plain to see they enjoyed each other’s company.

Raymond said he became a driver after following in the footsteps of his role model dad Alan.

Nick said he also started work in the industry because he considered Alan and Raymond genuine role models.

“I have been a driver since 1979 and these days drive a DAF and Volvo doing deliveries around town. But I still love it and working with my son and grandson is great,” Alan said.

Raymond is a long haul driver for Morgan Transport and does three weekly return runs between Townsville and outback Mount Isa delivering groceries, bread and other food.

That is a gruelling 900km one-way trip and even though some sections of the Flinders Highway are rough, Raymond loves the freedom on the road.

He travels in a trusty T900 Kenworth and made sure it has been hosed down and cleaned at the depot before our photo shoot.

“I have been a truckie for 33 years and have been around trucks since I was aged just four. Then Alan used to pick me up in a  truck from the Railway Estate pre school in Townsville. I have been hooked on trucks ever since,” Raymond said.

With the average age of Australian drivers being about 58, Nick is a genuine young gun and works as a local supervisor for the company.

“In that capacity I am grandfather’s boss and he is a great worker who really shines.  And he doesn’t mind me being his supervisor, But with dad doing runs out of town I am not in authority to him,” Nick said.

Nick has two sons Harrison, aged four, and Jackson, one, who both love Alan and Raymond.

“They are both going to be truckies for sure and when we all get time off we go to see granddad and the boys love it. They enjoy getting into a truck with him in the yard,” Nick said.

Morgan Transport describe the three Johnstones as loyal employees considering the shortage of truck drivers around Australia.

“We have trouble getting reliable drivers and these three are very valuable employees,” one manager told me.

These three also possess a great sense of humour when I suggested could they be described in Biblical terms as the “father, son, and the Holy Ghost”.

“I don’t know which one of us would be the Holy Ghost,” Nick said as they all laughed.

During his long and colourful career on the highways and byways Alan had worked for many other companies including a stint at  Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

“I got to eat lots of prawns and fish whilst there,” he said.

While Raymond and Nick look set to have long term employment with Morgan Transport, I asked Alan how long he intended working for them, especially considering older truckies in Queensland need to pass an annual medical test to maintain their truck licence.

“I am fit for my age and passed my last test okay and would love to continue on for many years. My son and grandson make me feel young,” Alan said.

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