Contemporary artist praises truckies for role in record sculpture haul

Lindy Lee’s new favourite superheroes don’t wear capes – they’re the trucking team responsible for successfully hauling her prized sculpture from Brisbane to the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra.

The renowned artist travelled every step of the five-day, 1200km journey with the 13-tonne Ouroboros, a $14 million immersive sculpture that took her four years to complete and says the trip was one of the highlights of her life.

Thanks to meticulous planning by project boss Jon Kelly, from Heavy Haulage Assets, and the calm-under-pressure skills of his truckies Liam Khan and his dad Ray, and their project pilot, the legendary ‘Nick the Greek’, Lindy’s precious cargo arrived on June 19 without a scratch.

“Truckies are superheroes,” an exuberant Lindy writes on her Instagram account.

“Every cliche about them being uncouth louts is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are the salt of the earth. They were so courteous, caring and kind.

“They were curious about art, life and the universe. We had great chats. And they were so dedicated to the cargo they were carrying. Liam and Nick’s steadiness was stellar.

“It’s been the most amazing trip of my life. You have no idea of the logistics. Liam has to negotiate 36 gear changes coming down the range – it’s insane.

“The pilot, Nick the Greek, I’m in love with him. He’s such a gorgeous guy, and oh my god, the skill. I had no idea of the amount of skill there is in all of this.”


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A post shared by Lindy Lee (@lindylee.13)

The haul, however, wasn’t without its share of “hairy ride” moments that were out of the crew’s control, admits Lindy.

Thick fog grounded the team at Goondiwindi, and Lindy says the winds were so fierce near Dubbo that it was only the “Freddy Mercury” netting that kept the sculpture sheeting in place.

“There were two incidents involving f*cking dickheads,” Lindy adds on Instagram.

“The police had pulled over oncoming traffic to the road shoulder. The idiots decided to queue jump, so they were driving at us at 100km/h, we were driving at 80km/h and we took up both sides of the road.

“It was only Liam’s and Nick’s steadiness that avoided a headlong and fatal collision. Cool as cucumbers. I hope they all make it to the opening in October. I love them so much.”

Jon Kelly and Lindy Lee at the start of the long haul from Brisbane to the National Gallery of Australia. Image: Lindy Lee

Jon Kelly tells Big Rigs that you can count on him being in Canberra for the formalities later this year, along with his trucking-mad sons James and Josh, both of whom were on hand to help Dad with logistics out of Brisbane.

Jon has been the brains behind some of the biggest and heaviest loads ever moved on Australian roads.

But he said the Ouroboros project, commissioned by the NGA to commemorate its 40th anniversary this year, would have to go down as one of his highlights.

For more details – and pictures from the record-setting haul – make sure you grab your free copy of the July 5 issue of Big Rigs from your usual outlet – or download a copy of the digital paper from the same day here.

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