I Spy on the Road
I Spy on the Road

Ship ‘steaks' claim for record

OCEAN Shearer set a world record for the largest shipment of live exports of cattle when it set sail from Darwin for Indonesia with 25,817 head on December 3.

The Wellard ship MV Ocean Shearer broke its own record which was 24,683 head exported two months earlier in September.

Cattle were loaded in Broome and Darwin by three exporters including Wellard.

The cattle were sourced from different properties with 9000 steers loaded in Broome and 15,500 cattle at Darwin.

Stock was unloaded at Jakarta and Panjang and the shipment was a sign of the strong demand.

MV Ocean Shearer is the largest livestock vessel in the world and was loaded at 80% capacity to enable the cattle more space than the Australian regulatory standards prescribe.

The vessel also regularly loads in Townsville.


VICTORIAN truckie who got a week off after Christmas phoned the 1300 number for a car rental company to get a quote to take the wife for a holiday.

The gent who answered was obviously foreign considering his accent of his voice and after the rental was made asked where he was from.

"Bulgaria and it is zero degrees here and very cold," he replies.

Truckie said it was more than 30 degrees where he was and soon discovered the Bulgarian had family members who were in the road transport industry over there.



BY now most of the thousands of truckies who made New Year's Resolutions would know if they have been successful.

In the lead up to January 1st and soon after Spy spoke to scores of drivers from around Oz and most were happy to nominate theirs.

Many were the usual resolutions such as giving up smoking, cutting down or totally giving up alcohol, going to church more, losing weight, and being nice to everybody. A Western Australian truck told Spy his resolution was to refrain from road rage when slow caravans and idiot car drivers make him angry.

"My wish is to win first division in lotto and the chances of that is six million to one. So I won't be able to say until the last day of the year," said Graham of NSW.



SPY was tucking into a lovely meal at the eatery of a popular roadhouse when a veteran truckie named Tony from Hervey Bay walked in.

Tony was doing a spot of work for a company at Black River and ordered his favourite meal of rissoles and vegies.

"I have been coming to this roadhouse for 35 years and they still taste delicious as they did all that time ago," he said.

The delightful lady cook came out of the kitchen and said she used 8kg of mince a week and other ingredients to make 49 serves which truckies love.

"I used to work at the roadhouse near Bowen for 10 years and they were popular there. I have been here for three years," she said.

It is amazing that any truckie would patronize the same roadhouse for three and a half decades and Tony reminisced about how the main road used to pass the roadhouse.



SPEAKING of rain, numerous truckies have told Spy of being caught in the heaviest rain they have ever come across.

The said shower occurred along the Bruce Highway between Alligator Creek and the AIMS turnoff at Clevedon.

"You could only do 40km per hour and visibility was almost zero. I had to drive along whilst looking at the white lines," he said.

Several pulled over for safety reasons.



FOR the past 61 years many people involved in the road transport industry from around Australia written the annual bush Maxwelton Races in their diaries as a "must attend" event.

Maxwelton is a small hamlet 50km past Richmond as you head towards Julia Creek on the outback Flinders Highway.

There are many properties near Maxwelton where cattle agistment takes place however the permanent population is about five.

For the past six decades, thousands of truckies have been to the "Maxy Races" as they are known and most have a juicy tale or ten about their experiences.

Spy can recall being there on several occasions and one vivid memory is of huge flies in their droves.

"If you clap your hands you kill 100 flies and if you open your mouth you will swallow at least 10," one truckie said.

But Maxy had an appeal all of its own and regional truckies often begged to their boss to have time off on the date.

Even interstate truckies tried to arrange jobs so they could be around Maxy at race time.

Now the event is in jeopardy as Racing Queensland has ordered the organizing club to spend $100,000 to upgrade facilities.

Albeit the club received a $20,000 grant but just haven't got the money to make up the gap.

Once upon a time Maxy boasted a post office, a pub, school, shop and a railway station.

They are all gone and now the train passes by on the way to Mount Isa.

The school, shop and pub have gone.

Spy knows of several humorous yarns from Maxy and they are sure to tantalize the taste buds of everybody in the industry. One involves the school which required 10 students to stay open. When the Queensland Education inspector visited there was always only nine pupils in attendance, and he was always told that the tenth, named Skippy, was sick.

"Skippy was in fact a kangaroo which hopped around the grounds but it kept the school open for a few years," one truckie told Spy.

Spy will keep you posted about developments.

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