Complete with two pilot escorts and two police vehicles, Gladstone based owner-operator Danny Noonan was preparing to transport a massive wide load from Townsville to the Adani Mine when he chatted with Big Rigs.
The 49-year-old’s company is DK Noonan Transport and he was driving a Western Star 4900 powered by a 600hp Cummins motor.
Noonan had loaded the heavy tank with a big capacity onto his trailer at Townsville Port after it had been shipped from China. With him were two pilot escort drivers who would be accompanying it on the long journey.
It was about 1.30pm and they were at the new truck staging area on Benwell Road just outside the busy port gates.
The temperature was a scorching 36 degrees and after a few minutes in the open the sun was burning your skin, but they could expect conditions to be much more comfortable when they started their marathon journey 14 hours later.
Adani coal mine is in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland and approximately 160km North-West of Clermont which is a long way from pick up point.
“We won’t be leaving until 3am and will have two police vehicles with us as well as the pilots,” Noonan said.
The tank was a genuine huge load at 9.6m wide and 5.1m high but didn’t need Ergon Energy staff to travel with it to get under power lines.
“We will be heading from here to Charters Towers along the Flinders Highway and just past there will detour towards Clermont along the Belyando Highway,” he said.
From Townsville to Charters Towers is 130km along the Flinders Highway before another 350km from there to Clermont and then the final 160km to Adani.
Many truckies refer to the Clermont to Charters Towers section as the Belyando Highway and it is official known as Gregory Development Road.
Noonan has been a truckie for 20 years and an owner-operator for the past decade. The partner in his business is his wife Kylie, who he said he ‘couldn’t do without.’
The first truck Noonan purchased was an International Eagle which he when he started his business in 2010. Since then, his other trucks have been Western Stars.
Noonan has two sons and Rory Noonan, the oldest, is training as an operator hoping to get his truck licence and drive for his father one day.
The youngest at age 17 is Aidan Noonan, who is doing a mechanical apprenticeship and is hoping to work for the business in the future.
“Danny and I have always hoped that we could bring the boys into the business one day which would be a huge help to us as it is hard to find younger truck drivers in this day and age because a lot of young ones go to the mines,” said Kylie.
“It’s been hard for myself and the boys having Danny on the road a lot but it has always been a passion of his which he is extremely good at and he has earned a lot of the industry’s peeps and business respect over the last 10 years. As his family we are extremely proud of what we have both built from nothing to a successful company over the 10 hard years with fuel prices and a tough economy.”
On his travels Noonan likes stopping at the Carmila Roadhouse which is beside the Bruce Highway 235km north of Rockhampton and about 100km south of Mackay.
Noonan nominated the Belyando Highway as amongst the worst he travels on.
Regarding rest areas, he feels there is enough but he feels toilets and shade are required at a majority.
Which is a sentiment expressed to by many drivers around this vast country.
When he does get time off Noonan enjoys fishing at the creeks around Gladstone and on the reef out from the city.
”I have caught coral trout on the reef which are good eating,” he said.
Superfit Noonan is one of the friendliest drivers I have met this year and has been in the tropics for many years.
Lanky Noonan also used to a quality Australian Rules footballer who played for Inglewood in Victoria before heading to the sunshine state.
Not surprisingly he was a ruckman.