By Kaylene Little as told to Graham Harsant.
GAYLE Little was born in Finley, NSW in 1972.
With trucking in the family, the bloodline was there for her to follow in her father's footsteps and being a female was certainly not going to hold her back.
Gayle obtained her truck licence when she was about 19 and started in the family business.
From there she went on to drive trucks of all sizes and carted all types of freight throughout her career. She also had forklift, road train and dangerous good licences. She simply wanted to be recognised for her skill in driving.
She showed a lot of pride in any truck she drove, whether it was big or small.
Gayle's life revolved around the trucking community. Her family and friends were all connected to the transport industry. As well as driving, Gayle built award-winning model trucks with her brothers and worked in several roadhouses. She appeared in several newspaper articles focusing on what it was like working in a male-dominated industry.
She firmly placed her own style and experience into any job she held. Her style of dress was comfortable girls' clothes and it would sometimes confuse those who worked in the roadhouses. This, despite the fact that more and more women were taking up driving.
Once she went into a roadhouse before Shambles, her driving partner at the time, and sat down in the drivers' section. A waitress came over and stated that this was for drivers only. Gayle asked, "What is a truck driver supposed to look like?" She remained seated.
She was also known for dressing for her favourite season, wearing a Santa hat for Christmas and those fluffy bunnies' ears for Easter. One complete stranger called her up one day on the CB as she went past, saying, 'Love, you've just made my day!' when he saw her wearing her bunny ears.
One position she held for many years was at Gattuso in Shepparton and the businesses and co-workers all got to know Gayle not just as a professional driver she was, but also for the tinsel and Christmas decorations that adorned her truck.
Gayle, her fiance Robbie Dixon and her brother Paul had spent time working together in Shepparton during which she shared her driving with her soulmate and fiance. He was a well-known, experienced and straight talking truck driver who shared her love of the industry. They both loved the times together on the road. With Robbie's support, Gayle's confidence in her driving grew. Their dream of seeing Australia from the cab of a truck together was sadly not to be fulfilled when Robbie died unexpectedly while on the job late in 2013.
After Robbie's death Gayle found herself a widow of transport at a young age but she did not let this keep her down and she went on to offer support to other women who had also become transport widows, offering comfort and assistance to any who needed it.
Gayle loved to share her driving with the family as her sister, Kaylene related: "She took me on several trips even though I wasn't of much help. One time we secretly organised for Gayle to take our Mum for a drive in a truck. We texted back and forth and finally agreed we would tell Mum we needed a step ladder, just so Mum could get up to see inside the truck. Once there we shut the door and Gayle took her for a spin. She loved it."
Gayle's second last job was with her good mate Shannon Wallace, better known as Shambles. They began working for Mainfreight, travelling between Perth and Sydney with some Adelaide trips in a Kenworth 909 B-double and road train combination. Shambles was an experienced, well-known and recognised driver who often gave advice that helped Gayle gain even more confidence and she became a driver who wanted to try things her way. It wasn't long before she was stating to Shambles, "There are two positions in the truck. Either in the driver's seat or in the bunk."
Gayle's last job was to travel from Adelaide to Perth but she died in the accident in Port Augusta on March 5 last year. Gayle was a determined, confident, caring, funny and highly respected professional female truck driver. She was 43 years of age.
Gayle, her fiance Robbie and Shannon's names are all placed upon the Alexandra Truck Drivers Memorial Wall, memories of a woman whose life was trucking. RIP.
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