Mates come to stop

ROAD HOME: Despite their retirement, workmates Jimmy Salisbury and Mick Gough will always have a love of the highway.
ROAD HOME: Despite their retirement, workmates Jimmy Salisbury and Mick Gough will always have a love of the highway. Kirstin Payne

BETWEEN them, livestock drivers Jimmy Salisbury and Mick Gough have survived half-a-dozen cattle injuries, crashes, third-degree burns, a reattached foot, multiple broken bones, a titanium leg and a dislocated hip.

Despite their scrapes with fate, it's only now - aged 81 and 75 - that the workmates have decided to call it quits.

Livestock transporters for more than half a century, Jimmy and Mick, who carved a reputation for Salisbury Transport in the south-east corner of Queensland, celebrated their retirement with family and friends at Boonah earlier this month.

On the road since their late teens, the brothers-in-law had an "old-school" approach when it came to stock transport.

"I've been working for Jimmy for 50 years; he is a good boss. He's someone that wouldn't ask you to do something if he wouldn't do it himself," Mick said about his mate.

"You just have to get the job done, no matter what - it's not a nine to five job," Mick said. "There wasn't much going home - we used to camp out and wait for the trains to come in with the cattle."

This lesson was echoed by the company's regular clients and many of the younger drivers who were trained by the pair.

"He keeps coming back," family friend Leon Blank said of Jimmy's resilience.

"At the end of one week, I heard he was dying so I made plans to head to the hospital in the next few days.

"That Monday morning he turns up in his truck," Mr Blank said.

"Well, work, this is the best medicine," added Jimmy - who bought his first truck in 1952 for $4000.

While the stock transportation industry has changed dramatically since the pair began, a knowledge of cattle has always remained a necessity.

"We started driving when they stopped walking cattle to the meatworks; they were getting into people's yards and onto their property so trucking them was a better option," Jimmy said.

A whole family venture, Jimmy's wife often came to feed the men twice a day while they waited to load up.

"Everyone helped everyone out. She sometimes fed up to 10 of us," he said. "Country life and trucking life were closer then - you couldn't drive if you can't control the animals; you need to know both sides."

Topics:  retirement transport trucks

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