Based in Brisbane, Brian Olliffe was heading over to Townsville’s BP Cluden Roadhouse for a welcome shower when Big Rigs saw him recently, deep in the tropics.
Olliffe, 50, works for Openica Logistics which has its headquarters in Melbourne, but also has depots in Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.
He was driving a three-year-old MAN which he described as good for the job, and which was in the roadhouse parking area.
“I work out of Brisbane and the cars I have on are a backload from up here going south. I came up with vehicles and a boat and dropped some off at Mackay and the rest at Townsville,” he said.
Olliffe has worked with this company for around four years and said he doesn’t normally stop at many roadhouses.
“I carry most of my home-made food prepared by my wife and cook it in the 12-volt oven I have on board or my gas burner. My favourites are meatballs and spaghetti,” he said.
Quietly spoken, Olliffe rates the section of the Bruce Highway known as the Marlborough stretch as amongst the worst he negotiates.
Olliffe said there was enough rest areas but qualified that by adding that truckies needed to choose the ones to stop at as their travels allowed.
Regarding Covid-19, Olliffe said he had received the two vaccination jabs.
“It hasn’t really affected me that much especially up here in the north,” he said.
Olliffe has fair skin which would make him an ideal candidate for sunspots or skin cancer as he gets older.
“I do get skin checks and was clear of any at the last one and usually wear a hat,” he said.
I noticed dead bugs splattered all over the front of the truck and asked Olliffe had he driven through a plague of insects.
“Yes, it was on the way up and south of here,” he said.
He isn’t on his lonesome as many other truckies have reported such plagues which ensure it takes a long time to clean their vehicle.
When he does get time off Olliffe enjoys spending time with family relaxing and riding dirt bikes.
His favourite sport is rugby league and Olliffe barracks for the Newcastle Knights.
“I grew up in Newcastle and the Knights haven’t done all that well recently, but I am hoping they improve in the new season,” he said.