From driving trucks across Europe to travelling Australia’s outback, it’s been quite the adventure for Irish-born truckie David Dennehy.
He currently works for Xcav8 Plant Services, which is among Australia’s largest trenching companies, transporting machinery and equipment to industries that include mining, water, tunnelling, oil and gas. Started by two fellow Irishmen, Xcav8 has three trucks and approximately 20 trenchers, among other equipment.
Originally from southern Ireland, Dennehy, 41, came to Australia for what was supposed to only be a three-week holiday in 2008. “Then I met my wife, who is from New Zealand, and we now have three kids. I’ve been in Brisbane ever since and have travelled all over Australia with the truck – I’ve been everywhere but Tasmania,” he said.
Dennehy is a third-generation truck driver. His grandfather had a transport company in Ireland, which has been run by Dennehy’s uncle for around 30 years. From one truck, the business now has over 20. And it was his uncle who gave him his first taste behind the wheel, helping to teach him the ropes early on.
“I first drove a truck when I was 10 – that was my uncle’s truck, moving around the yard and things at home. I got my truck licence at 19 and started driving full time at about 21,” he said.
“Both of my brothers were truckies too – one of them did the ice road trucking in Canada. He always wanted me to do it with him and I said I would but then I came to Australia and still haven’t gone over.
“From the time I was just five years of age, driving trucks is all I wanted to do. It’s in the blood. Even my mum has a truck licence and drives for a living too. It’s in the genes.”
Back in Ireland, Dennehy was a long-distance truckie, often travelling to Italy, Greece, Germany, France and Spain. “It’s a lot easier to do it here than in Europe. You don’t have to worry about the language barriers. Even trying to order from a menu was difficult when it was written completely in another language. Then there’s driving a right-hand drive truck in a left-hand drive country which had its own set of challenges, especially when you’re seated on the wrong side of the truck at a toll booth!” Dennehy explained.
Nowadays, you’ll find Dennehy behind the wheel of a Scania R620, which Xcav8 took delivery of last September.
When we spoke with Dennehy he was on the home stretch of a two-week trip from Brisbane to Port Hedland, which involved transporting a sand hopper.
As the father of three young daughters – aged 10, 6 and 5 – he says being away from home is one of the toughest parts of the job. “Being away from the family is really tough. The kids don’t normally get upset when I go away but this time they did and it preys on your mind,” he said.
“My six-year-old is absolutely mad for trucks. If I’m doing a local pick-up, I can bring the girls which is a real highlight. I did five years with Toll and there was no way I could bring the kids. Now it’s always an argument over who gets to come with me because I can only take one at a time. My six-year-old has spent nights in the truck with me and she loves the whole thing – so seeing her smile, that’s a big bonus too,” added Dennehy.
Despite the challenges that come with the job, Dennehy wouldn’t have it any other way. “No two days are the same and I enjoy seeing different parts of the country. This trip is the first one where I’ve travelled through Fitzroy Crossing and it’s been nice and green. The Nullarbor is a real experience too.”
‘Truckin’ in the Outback’ is proudly supported by Loadshift, Australia’s largest freight marketplace for individuals and businesses seeking to buy and sell road transport services.