For some time we have admired the maple red Booth Kenworth and the immaculate condition its industrious owner keeps it in, but it wasn't until we ran into the proud owner, our old mate Marty Booth from Gretna, the other day, eating a quick meal at "Mood Food" near Kempton, that we were able to get some details and some observations from Marty about the truck and the state of the Industry today.
Marty tells us he bought the 2007 T-404 SAR (II) with 500 Cat horses up front brand new and he subsequently bought the tri-axle matching pan, and is delighted with the result. He told us: "She's a great truck, said to be only one of three in Tasmania, fills all my needs, is spot on in fact, and the only issue I have ever had with it was with the wireless aerial!"
He added that he has been driving professionally on and off for the last 25 years or so, and he has seen some dramatic changes in the Industry, "Mainly brought in because of the Political clout of the big operators who then manipulate things to make it as tough as possible for the owner drivers or small operators.
And sadly this same system applies to just about every small business of any kind in the country nowadays.
Seemingly the Government doesn't care as there aren't enough small operators/businesses to affect the vote count significantly, and as a result the smaller blokes are forever stretched to survive on smaller and smaller margins.
In this business you have to cope with the ever increasing costs of fuel, insurance, registrations etc, and it is tough.
Literally no-one can afford an off-sider anymore, that once invaluable way so many people, including myself, made their way into the Industry, bringing with them an accumulated background of vital experience. In fact I don't reckon there will be any owner drivers left within 5 to 10 years, to the great detriment of the Industry, and Australia in general."
For all that, Marty is still enjoying operating his big maple red rig and he was on his way from Hobart to Burnie with a load of general.
He reckons it's still a good life, for all the draw backs, and he is still out there and hopes to be for the foreseeable future.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.