A genuine character of the industry in the tropics, Brian Kelly is the only truckie I have interviewed who says he “loves scalies”.
And this truckie with a genuine difference also told me that “only two people in the world know him by his correct Christian name of Brian”.
“Everybody else calls me Ned which is a name my grandmother gave me when I was born. I know it is after the bushranger Ned Kelly but hardly anyone would even know my real name is Brian,” he said.
I saw the 52-year-old along the Townsville Port Access Road earlier last month. He works for Ringers Haulage Transport which is based at the Bohle on the northern outskirts of Townsville and delivers around Queensland, and into the NT and WA.
Kelly was driving a Kenworth 909 which he said needed a clean.
“I do a run to the Northern Territory every fortnight and have been with Ringers for two years and a truckie for 25,” he said.
His Kenworth is named ‘Old Territory Time’ and Kelly said that initiated from a previous driver.
At this point of our wonderful and entertaining chinwag, I noticed Kelly had many different views to the majority of truckies around the country.
Why so? Well for a starter WHY does Kelly love scalies, which would be dirty words to many.
However Kelly does qualify that statement by declaring with a wry smile, “NT scalies. I got pulled up by them the other day 100km from Alice Springs and they did a compliance check. But they were courteous and even wished me a safe trip. I have found them good to deal with. Queensland ones are not usually that friendly,” he said.
Sometimes when I speak to drivers they are critical of their bosses but we never print the comments for obvious reasons.
But Kelly was genuinely passionate as he praised his boss, the man named Ringer who wears a big Cowboys hat.
“In all my time as a truckie I have never struck a boss who is so good to his workers. He is appreciative of what we do and not only that is a top bloke and a friend,” Kelly said.
He also reckons the roads in the NT are far superior to others around Australia, but to be fair, he is not on his lonesome with that remark.
“Truckies have a speed limit of 100km per hour and the roads are generally in good condition,” he said.
However, he was not so complimentary about Queensland highways and byways. “A lot of them need work,” he said.
I asked Kelly if he had a favourite roadhouse and he thought about it and nominated four.
“I would have to say that the Renner Springs Desert Inn tops the list as the food is good and the people there go out of their way to look after truckies and help us,” he said.
The others he likes are Darwin’s BP Truck Central, Barkly Homestead and Three Ways Roadhouse.
As for hobbies outside work, Kelly said he is looking forward to the NRL season. “I barrack for the Sydney Roosters and hope they can win the comp again after missing out in the finals last year. But they won the previous two premierships.”