Truckie Profiles

Emotional scenes as truckie sees daughter for first time in four years

There were emotional scenes at a north Queensland roadhouse parking area when veteran Western Australian small fleet operator Mike Vanstroe saw his daughter Kylee and granddaughter Charli for the first time in four years.

The reunion happened around noon on a sunny Easter Saturday at Townsville’s BP Cluden roadhouse – and Big Rigs came along unexpectedly soon after.

I saw the flashy blue 2015 Mack Superliner parked there and asked Mike if I could snap a picture.

“You sure can. I have been a driver for 46 years and have never had anybody pull me up and ask to do a story,” he said.

I noticed that Mike, 66, who is based at York in WA, seemed quite emotional – and he soon told me why.

“I have three grandchildren and haven’t seen Charli or Kylie for four years. It is great to catch up with them as well as my son-in-law Joel. The others all live in WA,” he said.

Kylie, her husband Joel, and Charli (aged nine), live in Townsville, which is far away from where Mike lives and works.

York is the oldest inland WA town and is situated on the Avon River, 97km east of Perth in the Wheatbelt.

He had driven the Mack on the marathon 4737km journey from the WA capital to Mackay.

I asked Mike when and where he last saw his daughter and granddaughter.

“It was back in January 2020, when I flew them to Perth and we went to Adventure World,” he said.

Mike Vanstroe’s flash blue 2015 Mack Superliner. Image: Alf Wilson

This knowledgeable road transport identity owns Kimberley Creek Contracting together with his beautiful wife Beth and has seven trucks which include Western Stars, Volvos and Macks.

He currently employs four drivers, including his son Anthony, who drives the Western Star 4900.

However whilst he concedes it can be difficult to find good reliable drivers, he qualified that statement.

“If you treat them well and look after them they are usually okay, but there are some, it doesn’t matter how good you are to them, they are never pleased,” he said.

Mike’s regular run is Perth to Broome every Saturday with a triple road train.

So this job travelling far away to the tropics of North Queensland proved an opportunistic time for him to see his loved ones on such a special time at Easter.

“I never get over this way but got a job hauling a conveyor belt from Perth to Mackay. The last time I was here was 10 years ago. It has been a challenge getting it here as the roads in Queensland are bad compared to in WA,” he said.

Born at Box Hill in Victoria, his first job was in 1978 driving a 1976 International Acco 3070 running the Hume.

In 1985 he moved to Queensland and 25 years ago made the move to WA which has been positive.

I asked him what his favourite roadhouse was and he quickly nominated Andy’s Roadhouse just south of Ingham.

“I stopped off there the other day and had a good yarn to Andy Barra who has been there for more than 40 years. The burger I had was delicious.

“I try not to stop at roadhouses for healthy eating reasons, but I needed to fuel up.”

Having said that, he added his trucks were equipped with a microwave, fridge and inverter.

“This Mack today doesn’t have a passenger seat, instead he has his 75 litre Engel so that can fit in and I buy a week’s supply of ‘Light and Easy’ meals’ for trips and eat them alongside the road. It suits me,” Mike said.

He added that the worst road he had been on by far was between Cunnamulla and Rockhampton.

“It was along two different highways but wasn’t good,” he said.

He had a backload from Gordonvale to WA, which was a restored 2007 Kenworth.

“Every nut and bolt on it has been replaced and some custom stainless, it looks good,” he said.

In conclusion, I asked Mike how the industry had changed over the decades.

“The fatigue laws over here are more strict than WA and everyone’s in hurry.

“Many of the older truckie mates have passed on and that is sad, but part of life.”



  1. Sounds like Mike was happy to see his family di U have more contact with them now I’d love to be on the open roads I know sometimes it’s hard from watching the truck shows but I hope all is well for Mike and his family

  2. That photo is wrong, a mack with a kenworth on thr trailer, isn’t it meant to be the other way around?? 😂😂 lol

    Good to play catch up every so often but they don’t cost as much when they are further away 😁

Leave a Reply

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

Send this to a friend