When asked how he got into trucks, WA-based truckie Brad Cheney says his story is the same as many in the industry – “I was born and bred into it,” he said.
“My dad was a truck driver when I was born. I was always in the passenger seat at a young age. Dad started teaching me to drive the truck at about age 13, though you can’t do that these days though.”
Now 34, Cheney works for Hawkins Haulage, based in the Perth suburb of Bullsbrook. He’s been there for just over four years and drives a 2006 Kenworth T904. “It’s a good truck. Being a small family company, it’s one truck, one driver all the time, so you get your own truck, set it up and away you go,” he said.
Cheney adds that the work he does is varied and diverse, taking him to all corners of WA and into the Northern Territory too.
“Most of the work is carrying general freight to the mines, but we also do some fridge/freezer work too,” he said.
For Cheney, being able to enjoy some of the most impressive scenery Australia has to offer is one of the job’s many perks. “I love the Australian outback, it’s magnificent. We have one of the best outbacks in the world – the landscape, the sunsets.
“My favourite places to travel are Broome and anything past Hedland. It’s just a different sort of scenery up that way. Kununurra is beautiful too – although I’m never there long enough to have a look at everything but I do cruise through slowly and have a look at the town.
“We try to stay on the bitumen and not go off road too much because the roads out here are that rough that they slowly deteriorate the truck.”
When it comes to truck stops, Cheney says BP Wubin is his favourite place to pull up. “The ladies there make it feel like home. They cook a really good feed and love to have a chat. They lift your spirits up when you have a bit of a bad run.”
Though he loves being on the road, being away from the family is tough. “I have a wife and six kids at home. She’s definitely the back-bone of the family. The kids all love the trucks. I think at least two of them will get into trucking but it will be a completely different landscape by the time they can come in,” he said. “On certain runs, my boys can come in the truck with me too, which is a bonus.”
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