Back in late 2019, Emily Marshall had landed a dream job on the other side of Australia, hauling oversize loads across WA – then she came home for Christmas, Covid-19 hit shortly after, borders closed and for a long time, that dream was out of reach.
Originally from Newcastle, 27-year-old Marshall got her start doing paper runs – just as her grandfather had done before she was even born. He had his own truck and transported newspapers across Sydney.
As it turned out, her best friend ended up doing the paper run too. “I asked if I could come down to Sydney and do the run with him and then got a job doing just that,” Marshall said.
Before long, she had scored a job doing tipper work – but it took some persistence. “When I walked in and said I was looking for a job, they said no three times before giving me a go – then I got the job.”
These all became stepping-stones for the job she now loves, transporting portable accommodation to mine sites from Perth to Port Hedland, and various other mining sites in between – and enjoying the long open roads of outback WA.
Women in Trucking Australia Ltd (WiTA) had put the call out for the job before Marshall answered and got the job, setting off on a new adventure, with the support of her family, who looked after her little girl, now aged six. “I got the job and flew straight over. If it wasn’t for the girls at WiTA, I wouldn’t be working here,” she said.
It was a seven-week stint with Hines Heavy Haulage for an accommodation relocation project, with small fleet operator Ian Hines at the helm. Though it was originally only a temporary gig, Hines was keen to have her back in the driver’s seat of the Western Star 6900 she now drives.
“I came back home to Newcastle in November 2019 and then it all started to unfold,” Marshall said.
She was keen to go back to Perth but didn’t get there before borders closed. “So I worked back home for a while back in the truck and dog, because I couldn’t get back. “Then even when borders finally did open up, I couldn’t go back because I had to do home-schooling for my daughter, so I had to be home for her.”
Then in April this year, Hines Heavy Haulage paid for Marshall to sit for her MC licence, and she returned to Perth to work with the company once again. She’s now in discussions with Hines about what the future holds. “We were talking right through 2020, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I’m excited to see where this goes and what this job holds,” said Marshall.
“It has been the best thing. I’ve never loved doing something so much in my life. I’ve found a passion, something I know I really want to do. I never knew truck driving until after my daughter was born. Then I went and got my licence. I was only doing truck and dog work and I enjoyed that but when this job came up, even though it was initially only for seven weeks, I loved it that much that I knew I wanted to come back.
“To me, this is freedom. I get a lot of downtime in the truck, it’s me time. I get to listen to my own music, go at my own pace.”