Former Victorian truckie Graham Lynch now lives an idyllic life deep in the north Queensland tropics at Babinda, which has just been named the second wettest town in Australia.
Aged 75, Lynch moved to Babinda 10 years ago after being a Victorian road transport industry man, either as a driver or administration officer for more than 20 years.
“I was born at Ferntree Gully in Victoria and worked for smallgoods company Mayfair Dandy for about 10 years driving Isuzu and Hino trucks, making deliveries to places like Ballarat, Geelong and Albury-Wodonga,” Lynch said.
Ferntree Gully is situated at the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, 30km south east of Melbourne’s CBD.
After that Lynch worked in operations for Clayton based Freezeline and would get to drive a Hino to Northlake when truck drivers were off sick. “I was also in that job for 10 years,” he said.
I met up with Lynch when we were both enjoying a cold drink on the Cairns Esplanade.
Outside it was raining heavily and the wind was strong in the aftermath of a cyclone alert.
Lynch said he holidayed in Babinda, where his wife had relatives, after retiring 15 years ago and fell in love with the town which is between Innisfail and Cairns beside the Bruce Highway.
“My nickname is have-a-chat because I just love yarning to people and you never know who you will meet here,” he said.
Lynch was in Cairns with his wife who had spent several days in Cairns Base Hospital and was proud to show me a picture of his fifth great grandchild Nicko who was born on January 7.
“It does rain a lot at Babinda and we normally win the wettest town award but were beaten narrowly this time by Tully, but not by much. Today 133ml of rain fell on Babinda,” he said.
Lynch hasn’t enjoyed the best of health in recent times. He has suffered two heart attacks and was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
“Doctors managed to remove the cancer from my bowel and I now live life to the fullest. They got it before it had spread so early diagnosis is the key,” he said.
Predictably when he lived in Victoria, Lynch’s favourite beer was VB, and also Abbot’s Lager, but that changed since he moved to the tropics.
“I now love Great Northern Beer but it has to be cold and lots of people up here also drink it,” he said.
Another passion of Lynch’s is boxing and he likes attending Babinda amateur boxing tournaments organised by respected locals Eric and Christine Norman.
“It is a great night out and they didn’t have many tournaments in 2020 due to Coronavirus regulations but I hear there will be some on again soon so I’ll be there,” he said.
The sport known as ‘sweet science’ may be Lynch’s favourite at Babinda but he also enjoys fishing in the abundant waterways near there.
Although hundreds of trucks travel daily along the Bruce Highway past Babinda, Lynch said there wasn’t that many in the town itself. “I know a few of the locals who have trucks including one up the highway at Mirriwinni,” he said.
Life is good for Lynch and he said he would pick up his copy of Big Rigs from a nearby roadhouse at Gordonvale so he can keep up with the latest road transport news.