Upright in the outback

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Doing the Adelaide to Darwin road-train run in a big Kenworth T909 is a dream job, according to Pete Crowther.

 

Operating road-trains out of Adelaide to Darwin has changed a great deal in the past 10 years or so. Today you can pull double road-trains out of the capital and do 100km/h legally; a big win for driver fatigue and irate motorists.

Every Sunday morning, Turner Transport’s rigs head up to Darwin.

Owner//Driver caught up with two Turner Transport drivers, Peter Crowther and Luke Rudland , in the northern city of Port Augusta.

Turner Transport’s Kenworth T909 is easily recognisable with its bright red fuel tanks, typical of all of the company’s trucks and a feature that lifts the look of the big rig.

Rudland has brought the double road-train up from Adelaide. He meets Crowther at the hook-up yard where they assemble a triple road-train.

"This is the best job I have ever had," Crowther says.

"We both have young families. I have a nine- month-old and Luke has a 10-month-old baby, so home life is very important. We leave Sunday morning and are back home late Wednesday or early Thursday morning. The rest of the week is with family."

Crowther has been driving on and off for 20 years. Although a welder by trade, he has had a variety of driving jobs — livestock, refrigerated and tipper. He still recalls that first day walking into Bulls Transport yard in Alice Springs asking to get his road-train licence.

"Back then there wasn’t much in the way of training, just get in the truck and go," he recalls.

During a stint with Kangaroo Island Freight Services, Crowther met and worked alongside Peter Turner moving livestock from Kangaroo Island to the mainland.

He has known Turner for many years, although he only started employment with the company in January. Crowther and his family live in Port Lincoln and he drives up to Port Augusta on Sunday morning and then heads north.

"[The] Turners are excellent to work for — Peter and his wife Josie and their son Nick. They are very understanding. You can talk to them about anything and they listen to what you have to say," he says.

Read the full story in the April edition of Owner//Driver. Click here to get your copy now.

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