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Father and daughter bring the ‘old girl’ back to her former glory

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Michael Murphy had wanted to get into trucking since he was a little kid, inspired by his uncle Neil who ran B-doubles, and his grandfather who headed up Beattie’s Bus Service in Wollongong.

At 43 years of age, Michael has been involved in the transport industry for over 25 years.

He started out as a diesel mechanic and then got his first transport gig with Brambles in Wollongong working as a trailer operator, making up the trailers and steering them around. He worked with a close-knit team carting the big stuff all around country.

Now he has his own business called Murf’s Transport, which runs B-doubles from Sydney to Melbourne, carrying general freight and sub-contracting to Cameron Interstate, part of the Glen Cameron Group, for almost 20 years.

“I enjoy the quietness of being on the road. You can be your own boss out there and do your own thing. We do depot to depot work, so I really enjoy that. You get to know a lot of the other blokes out there too over the years,” said Michael.

There are three working trucks in the fleet, the 2006 Kenworth K104 that Michael drives, and two K200 Big Cabs (a 2015 and 2017 model) – and of course the vintage Kenworth K100.

Michael had a love of Kenworths from a very young age. He came across the ‘old girl’ after it was advertised on Facebook.

“I always wanted a cabover or Kenworth W model around that age and then that came up for sale in Melbourne,” he explained.

“I bought it from a young bloke out in Sunbury. But the day I went to pick it up, he broke the gearstick, so I had to get it towed to Bayswater Truck Centre. A lot of money went into getting it driveable and registered. Inside the truck was a mess with lots of parts missing. We’ve tinkered around a bit and got it looking respectable.”

His wife Tabitha Murphy added, “It used to be an Arnott’s biscuit truck based in Sydney. She’s been around a bit. One of the guys at Gilbert & Roach in Huntingwood was one of the ones who specced it up and it was interesting to see the original certificate for it.

“The old girl was basically sitting in someone’s farm paddock and was on historical plates. It needed a lot of work. Now it’s parked in the driveway at home.”

The truck’s previous owner had done some work to it too, fixing up the chassis, which was cracked, so it could be registered. Once the Murphys got hold of the vintage beauty, they redid the interior and flooring and added new rims, new mudguards and a new exhaust.

Sophie gets the overalls on and gets just as dirty as Michael does.

They also added walk plates which were tailor made by JAB Fabrications and got it professionally polished up by Top Shine Metal Polishing.

A new radiator and further mechanical work was completed with the assistance of Illawarra Diesel. Though it’s already looking great, Michael admits there’s still a few other things that need to be done.

As Tabitha explained, “The truck has been a big labour of love – and a big money pit too. It has a Cat engine and there aren’t many of this spec about. We purchased the truck about a year and a half ago.

“Michael and Sophie are still continuing to restore it and trying to source other old parts to keep it as original as possible. They’ve really enjoyed it, it’s given them something to do. It’s also been good for them to be able to do that together. Sophie gets the overalls on and gets just as dirty as Michael does.

It’s like a two-door Ferrari, it’s not a working truck at the moment as it’s not suitable for the B-double work but people’s heads turn when they see a young girl driving her. We’re lucky we have it so we can enjoy it and take it to truck shows. It’s good to meet new people too.

We’ve had a lot of people come and talk to us because of the truck,” continued Tabitha, adding that she and Michael gave the truck to Sophie as her 25th birthday present.

Up until about a year ago, Sophie was working in childcare, but decided on a career change and went for her truck licence in May 2020.

Tabitha added, “She decided to get her truck licence and it’s all fallen into place for her. She’s now driving concrete trucks for Hanson Heidelberg Cement Group. She started there at the end of last year.

“They now have a few female drivers in the company. She hasn’t got her B-double licence at the moment but hopefully when Michael’s ready to retire, she can take over the business.”

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