NT Heavy Haulage in the crane game

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk

Bart Sutherland Western Star Bart bought the Western Star 4900 in 2012. Bart Sutherland Western Star
Bart Sutherland Western Star2 The Western Star is geared up for the heaviest of haulage. Bart Sutherland Western Star2
Bart Sutherland Bart Sutherland has a Northern Territory emphasis on his Western Star’s logo. Bart Sutherland

A reliable Western Star and loyal customer base keeps NT Heavy Haulage rolling along.


The logo on Bart Sutherland’s Western Star is self-explanatory — a map of Australia with the Northern Territory taking precedence over the rest of the country.

"We looked at using the brolga with the setting sun but that has been done to death so we put our heads together and came up with this," Bart says.

"It features the Northern Territory but also shows all of Australia, and although we’re based in the Northern Territory we travel all over the nation."

Bart and his wife Kay own Complete Crane Hire in Darwin, which operates under the name of NT Heavy Haulage. The company has seven cranes ranging from 15-tonne Frannas up to a 100-tonne mobile crane.

Bart first started in the crane industry with Brambles in Darwin during the early 1990s.

"I had a fair bit to do with the haulage there. I drove the trucks a few times and also did escorting," he says.

With the Inpex gas plant being built in Darwin, it should be boom time for a crane operator.

But Bart is quick to point out that every man and his dog have come to the Territory’s capital.

"The gas plant has something like 150 cranes on it at the moment and they are still bringing them to town," he says.

Bart is happy to have his regular clients that he has been working with over the last 10 years.

"We have a good clientele base and this unit [Western Star] was bought to augment the cranes."

The 2012 Western Star is specced up to handle the Territory’s roads, with Bart sending it anywhere he can.

Under the bonnet is a Cummins EGR rated at 600hp (447kW), coupled to an 18-speed gearbox.

"It has only done 300-odd thousand [kilometres]," he says.

"We don’t it use it flat out all the time, a lot of local work but we haven’t had any turbo issues … no dramas at all with the truck."

The three-year-old Star is half paid for, and shines like a new truck. Bart credits its original driver for its well-kept appearance.

His business employs nine people, plus a truck allocator who does a lot of the day to day organisational work.

However, it’s a case of watching and waiting before justifying hiring another full-time driver.

"I don’t mind going for some short holidays," Bart says.

"It is a pretty comfortable truck, a nice motel."

You can read Bart’s full story in the October edition of Owner//Driver.

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