Lights On The Hill shines through

By: Jason Whittaker

Grey skies and the threat of rain failed to dampen the spirits of those who attended the annual Lights On

Grey skies and the threat of rain failed to dampen the spirits of those who attended the annual Lights On The Hill Trucking Memorial Day at Gatton in south-east Queensland.

Held at Gatton’s Lake Apex Park, which is the home of the memorial, the event attracted close to 2,000 spectators.

Dignitaries who made the trip to Gatton and addressed the audience included Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann, State Labor MP Wayne Wendt and State Shadow Minister for Environment Ian Rickuss. Also present were Mayor of Lockyer Valley Regional Council Steve Jones and Jan Pattison from the Queensland Transport Association.

Lights On The Hill President Kathy White says, despite the inclement weather, the numbers were impressive.

"It was a great turnout and we made it through the service with just a couple of drops of rain," White says.

"But I don’t think people would have cared. They would have still stayed through the service."

As well as the speeches, truck driver turned country performer Travis Sinclair performed his moving song ‘Boy In The Aerodyne’, while patron John ‘The Ferret’ Moran recited his poem ‘I Remember’.

White says 57 names were added to the wall this year, including 23 drivers who had passed away this year. These include drivers not only from Queensland, but all states of Australia, as well as some from New Zealand who have died in accidents while working in Australia. In addition, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the contribution of emergency services to the road transport industry.

Shane Neumann, the Federal Member for Blair, says he was honoured to represent the town of Gatton, which had seen fit to honour those who have died in the trucking industry and who have made such a contribution to the economic development and lifestyle we enjoy in Australia today.

"Without the trucking industry our produce could not get from the farm to the market and our manufacturing goods from the plant to the urban centres for sale," Neumann says.

"Our truckies and their families make great sacrifices to benefit all of us.

"We are an island geographically but not financially as we have witnessed in the last few weeks.
"Those who cart our produce along those long lonely roads do so facing tiredness, often hunger and separation from family and friends," he says.

Wayne Wendt, State MP for Ipswich West, says the day was a remarkable success.

"I was surprised about the number of people who took the time to come out in the inclement weather to pay their respects to their loved ones," Wendt says.

"In addition it was an important day for the fact that we specifically unveiled the plaque which commemorated the contribution of the SES, police, doctors, helicopter rescue services, ambulance, fire and rescue officers and all other emergency personnel in ensuring the safety of workers in the transport industry.

"It's often forgotten that these brave men and women sometimes have to put their own lives on the line to save others, and it's for this reason that we should never forget their role in the transport industry," Wendt says.

The next event on the calendar for Lights On The Hill will be a fundraising Truck Concert at the Gatton Shire Hall on November 28 at 7.30pm. Featured artists will include Travis Sinclair and ‘ute chick’ Jayne Denham, recent winner of the Female Rising Star trophy at the Independent Country Music Awards of Australia.

For more information contact Kathy White on 07 5465 7634.

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