Slick truck company
THE Cornwill brothers are a knockabout trio - ready grins and always willing to take the mickey out of each other.
Their innate sense of humour doesn't translate to dress sense because they don't have any - well, not at any of the shows this writer has seen them attend.
Troy, Rick and Wayne are on the money though, when it comes to trucks and trucking.
Troy and Rick began Cornwill Transport in 1994, with Wayne and 65-year-old dad, Kevin heavily involved in the day-to-day operations.
"Dad's looking at retirement," said Rick. "Most people think he owns the business and that's just fine with us. We are more than happy for him to take the heat."
Trucking was always going to be in the blood of these three, given Kevin has spent a lifetime behind the wheel.
Much of Kevin's time was spent working for Ron Hovey out of Geelong driving petrol-powered Louisville's and F 600s.
The three boys started their trucking lives by following dad to Hovey's. Starting out driving Ronnie's trucks they came across an old Aerodyne and "did a bit of work on her". (That bit of work has resulted in the Aerodyne winning numerous awards at truck shows across Victoria.) "We subbied for Ron, then for Linfox and it went on from there. We just cruised along."
How did they go finding business? Having a truck and trailer is one thing, finding work for it is another.
"It was a bit hard in the beginning I suppose," said Troy. "Our greatest asset was dad. He'd been in the industry for umpteen years and knew everybody. As young guys starting out it could have been pretty tough for us, but dad's contacts and reputation meant blokes were willing to give us a try out."
Sixteen years later the Cornwill boys are still going strong. "Once you're out there and show people that you're willing to work hard, try to do the right thing and give good service, it gets easier. These days we never look for work, it just comes to us. The clients see that we run good gear. Our trucks are the face of the business. They need to be - I mean we're no oil
The mainstay of the business is steel with some palletised bags of cement moved for Boral out of Somerton and transported around the state.
The boys currently have five rigs - all Kenworth of course. There are two Aerodyne's -'80 and '82 models. "We've got the '80 off the road at the moment for a spruce up. We've also got two 401's and the 908."
These trucks represent much more than a business to the Cornwill's - they represent a passion (which extends to cars and Harleys). The passion has paid off with awards bestowed upon every truck in the fleet, and in many cases more than one.
When the boys attend the many truck events held across Victoria they like to wind back and relax. There's nothing pretentious about the Cornwill's. There's the 70-year-old 12 x 12 canvas pole-tent that belongs to their 90-year-old grandad, a brazier throwing off good old wood-fired heat and an esky or three for sustenance. "We all work bloody hard so when we go to a truck show we like to bring everybody involved with the business - including wives and girlfriends - and just wind back and relax for a day or two. It recharges the batteries." It's probably just as well that the wives and girlfriends are invited to these weekend sojourns, because it's obvious that when the Cornwill trucks aren't working, the boys are working on the rigs. The T908 in these pictures is nothing short of pristine. As with all the Cornwill rigs it has its own unique personality. Take for instance the chrome steel flooring, polished to a mirror finish. That this truck makes its living carting steel and concrete around Geelong, Melbourne and environs is astonishing in itself.
The camaraderie between the brothers is obvious to all who know them and is no doubt part of the key to their success. "We all look out for each other's backs. We grew up close and we stay close and that's the way we like it."
For the Cornwill's, trucking is a way of life - a life they all love. "If your work is something you love then it's no longer work. We all enjoy the job and we like being with each other. All in all life's pretty good."
If you see the Cornwill's at a truck show near you, go up and say g'day. You'll be welcomed with a warmth that goes well beyond that brazier burning out the front of pop's old tent.
Troy and Rick began Cornwill Transport in 1994
They currently have five rigs - all Kenworth of course
"If your work is something you love then it's no longer work. We all enjoy the job and we like being with each other. All in all life's pretty good."