THE TIPPER: The 1972 White 9000 tipper in Kyabram.
THE TIPPER: The 1972 White 9000 tipper in Kyabram.

Whelan family treasures these trucks

WITH a passion for the White brand of trucks, which were a popular choice for a number of operators in years past, Marg and Terry Whelan are the custodians of two Whites which they have restored and today do the rounds of the historic truck circuit.

Hailing from Swan Reach in the Gippsland are of Victoria, the Whelan family had on display a 9000 tip truck and a Road Commander at the White Truck Muster in Kyabram, with both trucks painstakingly restored over a number of hours in the family workshop.

The couple bought a new Road Commander in 1977 to put to work on interstate haulage which was a faithful servant for a number of years, and when the family began to build up an earthmoving business around their local area, a 1972 White 9000 bogie tipper being one of a number of trucks bearing the Whelan name was also put into service.

With trucks and earthmoving gear bought and sold over the decades both trucks were moved on, and as such both trucks today are replicas of the original vehicles.

In the case of the 9000 tipper, the end result is the product of a rebuild over six years, with parts sourced from a donor model.

"We couldn't find the original so this is a replica...to build one you really need two so we found another one with a lot of good components and built it from the ground up,” Terry said.

The 9000 is powered by a 250 Cummins coupled to a 15-speed Road Ranger with the truck finished off in a striking "Regatta Blue” and white paint.

The finished Road Commander is the result of 2,500 hours labour, and as Terry was also unable to track down the original vehicle, one with similar specifications was found in Sunbury on eBay and purchased for $4000 in 2016.

As in the case of the 9000, a donor truck was also used to supply a number of parts with the truck coming together via a full strip-down and rebuild, with the colours replicating the original blue and yellow paint scheme.

With the truck's specifications as close as possible to the original vehicle, a 350 Cummins sits under the cab connected to a RoadRanger 15 speed driveline.

The Whelan's are members of the American Truck Historical Society with the White Muster one stop on the busy show circuit during the earlier months of the year.

The Road Commander painstakingly restored by the Whelan family
The Road Commander painstakingly restored by the Whelan family

"It's our third White Muster, we had the 9000 for the first one we came to in 2015 and two years ago the Road Commander was just out of the workshop,” Marg said. The Road Commander pulls a 48-foot drop-deck trailer which carried the 9000 and a Cletrac crawler tractor (Another White Motor Corporation product), with both trucks headed back to Gippsland after the Kyabram event.

"They haven't been home since Longwarry in February - we leave them at a friend's place in Castlemaine,” Marg said.

"We go to all the ATHS events including Lancefield, Maffra and Echuca each year and were also at Clunes last weekend before coming here to Kyabram.”

Looking ahead, the couple also have the next big reunion on Alice Springs in 2020 on the radar.

Terry and Marg's family has been involved in both the business and the restoration projects over the years, with daughter Andi and grandkids Tom, James, Sam and Max on hand in Kyabram to enjoy the day and show off the family's handiwork.

Terry and Marg Whelan with daughter Andi (right) and grandkids Tom (10), Sam (6) and James (8). Max, 3, was a bit camera shy.
Terry and Marg Whelan with daughter Andi (right) and grandkids Tom (10), Sam (6) and James (8). Max, 3, was a bit camera shy.

With just the two Whites in the shed at Swan Reach today, Terry is enjoying retirement with his trucks.

"We started on interstate with the Road Commander, came back to the local area running a heap of trucks on local and earthmoving but we are all out of that now - we are doing what we want to do what we have to do!” he said.

To that end the next project is one of Marg's so it would seem that Terry might be off to the workshop again soon.

"I have a Ford 'Jailbar' which was given to me by a cousin of mine so that's in the pipeline - that's going to be mine!” she said.

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