Bobby Stocks hands in his keys

OUT OF THE CAB: Bobby Stocks shares highlights of his driving career.
OUT OF THE CAB: Bobby Stocks shares highlights of his driving career. Graham Harsant

BOBBY Stocks is from Naracoorte, South Australia. At 65, his resume reads like a who's who of trucking companies: Mayne Nickless, Brambles, Sartori, Fleet Express, Strates Haulage and "various others".

"I started out in Melbourne many years ago, loading and unloading the trucks for Mayne's. I've done general from Melbourne to Adelaide, Melbourne to Perth express and Adelaide to Sydney," he said.

"Then I went into livestock. I drove stock freight for 16 years and after that down to Naracoorte, where I now live. It was there that I went onto tankers where I did 16-plus years for Gericke."

It's been a family of trucking: Bobby's eldest brother went on The Wall (of Fame at Alice Springs) in 2012. Bobby and another brother went on last year and his younger brother this year.

"We used to have a lot of fun out on the road years ago. It's all gone now. Once upon a time - and yeah, I reckon it is a bit of a fairytale these days - you'd be stuck on the side of the road and someone would always come along and stop to see what the problem was," he said.

"More often than not they'd have a few beers with them. You'd cook something up on the side of the road and get the truck sorted between you.

"That was a long time ago. These days they'd run over you rather than help you.

"I reckon it's the pressures of delivery: Nobody has the time, so nobody wants to help you.

"You would think that with the instant communication we have these days it would make things closer but that's not the case. We seemed to have a lot more fun before CBs came along."

We asked Bobby to relate one of those fun incidents and he replied: "I'd like to mate but they're all too rude for the pages of Big Rigs."

We suggested putting in "bleeps" for the worst bits.

"It'd be a page full of bleeps and no-one would have a clue what the hell I was on about. There was the time I jumped in the bunk. I was reading a book. Forgot to put the Maxis on and cleaned up three cars. By the time I looked up and saw the trees going past it was too late. Luckily I had a good boss."

In May of this year, Bobby had an accident which, unfortunately, finished his driving career.

"I rolled a truck, smashing up the tanker and breaking my neck. I did my trucking days (43 years) so I'm retired now and taking it easy."

Here is another trucking accident story that could (and maybe was) reported by an hysterical press as "another dangerous truck on our roads driven by an irresponsible driver" but that was not the case.

"A sheila took me out, head-on. She was trying to commit suicide. I rolled and broke my neck. All she got was a sprained ankle," he said.

"I've driven a lot of trucks in my time and I like Kenworth but it was a Mack that I had the accident in, and that sort-of saved my life because it had a steel cab.

"I ended up on the floor. That's where I was when I woke up. I got myself out. Otherwise I'd still be out there."

Topics:  retired transport truckie trucks

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