LIFE ON THE ROAD: Truckie Terry Bairstow will keep working until he can't any more.
LIFE ON THE ROAD: Truckie Terry Bairstow will keep working until he can't any more. Contributed

Truckie Terry, 77, is still going strong

HE MIGHT be pushing 77, but truckie Terry Bairstow has no plans to hang up the keys to his road train any time soon.

The transport veteran owns the West Australian outfit Wagin Bulk Hauliers and estimates he's done about five million kilometres in the last 50 years.

"I've seen mostly all of Australia and it's been a pretty good life," he said.

"The log book keeps me a bit cautious but (I love) that you're just going somewhere all the time.

"Trucks these days are really great to drive too."

Terry got his start in the industry in the early 1970s, when he decided the life of shearing sheep was not for him after growing up on the family farm at Dumbleyung.

It wasn't easy to break into the industry and he had a wife, Marie, and young son to provide for but Terry worked hard and a few years after buying his first truck started a business carting sheep.

He started picking up more and more business and soon had to employ another part-time driver and buy another truck.

"It's been good to us and it's been hard too, nothing is easy, it's a hard life out there in trucks," he said.

"You've got to be disciplined and work at it. Marie and myself have done OK but it's long haul and there's no quick money."

 

Terry Bairstow and wife Marie in front of one of his trucks.
Terry Bairstow and wife Marie in front of one of his trucks. Contributed

While Terry said his wife would like to wind down the business a bit, he wanted to keep trucking for as long as his health was OK.

"I run tippers with electric rollers and I could load up to 70 tonnes and not get out of the truck," he said.

"A lot of farmers help you when you load up and it's not very hard. It's not like carting sheep."

He's been in the industry for a long time, so it's no surprise he's got a couple of gripes.

One of those was the work diaries - though luckily in WA Terry was able to manage his own fatigue.

"What they're trying to do looks all right on paper but it doesn't work in real life," he said.

He also took issue with the way young drivers were trained.

 

Some of the trucks in the Bairstows' Volvo fleet.
Some of the trucks in the Bairstows' Volvo fleet. Contributed

"My own boys were educated with trucks, coming with me along on trips and my grandsons were the same too, they all learnt from a young age," he said.

"There should be an apprenticeship of sorts, companies starting them in the yard, let them move the trucks around, unhook them and unload them and progress through. It's pretty hard to change their ways once they learn."

His passion for the transport industry ensures that his legacy will live on - he inspired his two sons, his daughter and two grandsons to follow in his footsteps.

 

Terry Bairstow has seen almost all of Australia in his Volvo.
Terry Bairstow has seen almost all of Australia in his Volvo. Contributed

Grandson Brady Jenkin is doing an apprenticeship with Base Fabrications in Perth, where Terry had work done on his trailers, and his other grandson, Cody Jenkin, drives for another local company.

Should they need a hand, they know the right person to go to for advice.

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