7 stories our Spy has heard this week
Precious times missed
SACRIFICES many of our truckies have to make are a fact of life, but it is doubtful that many outside the industry would know to what extent.
These include being away from the wife/partner and children for long periods and missing important events such as birthdays.
Last week Spy was talking to an owner-operator who parked at an interstate roadhouse.
He had to travel far to get work and was away from home for five weeks.
"I missed the birthday of my two-year-old son and that really hurt me emotionally,” he said.
During his time away, this middle aged New South Wales driver had some down time and paid for a flight to go back and see his family, leaving his truck parked in Queensland.
He regularly misses his wife and speaks over the phone daily or by email or through social media.
Another driver Spy knows had to miss his daughter's first day of school back in late January.
Others have told of missing weddings of friends and even funerals.
Massacre remembered by truckies
IT HAS been 23 years since the Port Arthur massacre, and numerous Tasmanian truckies took time out on the date this year to think of the victims.
On April 28 and 29, 1996, there was a mass shooting at Port Arthur in southern Tasmania, in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded.
The murderer, Martin Bryant, pleaded guilty for the incident and was given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole.
Spy spoke to several truckies from the Apple Isle in late April and they were thinking of the victims and praying for their family members.
A couple said they stopped off at the Tasmanian Truck Drivers Memorial Wall at Epping Forest Roadhouse on the dates.
They thought of truck drivers who had lost their lives during work and also the Port Arthur victims.
I have been to Port Arthur Historical Site numerous times since then and visited the memorial section there.
It is indeed an emotional experience.
Panic buying debate
WHEN serious weather events such as a cyclone or floods are imminent, many people go down to the supermarket and panic buy.
Things like candles, bottled water, long life milk, canned fruit and meat and other non-perishables.
They figure that the electricity may be cut, so they want to be stocked up.
But often many will panic buy numerous of each items leaving nothing for others.
You only have to enter a supermarket if a cyclone or flood is expected to see empty shelves.
Items on special or home brands are usually the first to go.
Some truckies I heard taking in a roadhouse eatery were all of the opinion that there should be a limit on how many each customer can buy.
THERE is a Victorian truckie who has picked up nicknames such as 'Waltzing Matilda' or 'Billy The Kid'.
The simple reason is because he has a billy with him on his travels around Australia and enjoys numerous cups of tea.
Spy saw him parked up with his billy boiling on a small gas cooker.
This friendly gent is always willing to offer anybody who parks near him a "cuppa”.
"I have been called 'Waltzing Matilda' by some people and a group of Americans the other day referred to me as 'Billy The Kid',” he said.
He likes the Waltzing Matilda description because it refers to a swagman who was boiling a billy made famous in a poem by the legendary Banjo Paterson.
However not so much the other one.
"Billy The Kid was an American outlaw,” he said.
SEVERAL truckies who were yarning to a West Australian truckie spent 14 minutes trying to understand a thought- provoking statement he made to them.
The lucky sandgroper had won a decent amount on Keno and when congratulated by the others had this to say: "People see my glory they don't know my story”.
Was he trying to tell them that until the windfall he had suffered a hard life financially?
Or perhaps the money helped him pay off some debts?
Whatever the reason, it sure got his mates deep in thought.
Finding the dog
SINCE he was a young boy a NT truckie has been fascinated by the "Dog on the Tucker Box” located near Gundagai.
Whilst he has read heaps about the acclaimed Aussie icon the lad aged in this thirties had never seen it himself.
But that changed in April when a work opportunity arose for him to make a delivery from Darwin to NSW.
On the way back to the NT he had a backload which required a stop at a place near Gundagai.
That gave him the chance to see the monument to the Dog on the Tucker Box which is located just off the Hume Highway near Gundagai.
"I really loved getting to finally see it and this was an unexpected bonus for me being a truck driver. If I had to pay for a flight and hire a car to go to NSW when on holidays it would have cost me plenty,” he said.
The monument was unveiled in 1932 and has been the subject of many poems and songs.
Annually it is visited by tourists from around Australia and the world.
SEVERAL truckies have reported seeing fallen rocks as they negotiate the Cunningham Highway in southern Queensland.
In particular on the section between Warwick and the Gladfield Rest Area where all motorists have to take particular care.
The 327km long highway has been upgraded over the years and still is the scene of many accidents.
It connects the rich Darling Downs area of Queensland to north of Warwick at the junction of the New England Highway.
Much of the Cunningham is single lane.