Path to truck driving began on the farm for Russell Barrie

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Barrie Farming 1 Russell’s Freightliner Argosy pulls into Townsville. Barrie Farming 1
Barrie Farming 4 The company name on Russell Barrie’s Argosy is a reminder of his farming background. Barrie Farming 4
Barrie Farming 8 The Argosy does three runs up the Bruce Highway each fortnight. Barrie Farming 8

The close connection of farming and trucking led Russell Barrie to a life on the road.

 

Russell Barrie arrived in the trucking industry through peanuts. Not the peanuts that drivers and subbies often believe they’re being paid, but through the family peanut farm at Kumbia, just outside of Kingaroy in Queensland.

Russell’s dad, Doug Barrie, grew peanuts for 30 years and, although that part of Russell’s life is now history, the company name of Barrie Farming and his 2013 Freightliner Argosy is a reminder of those times.

The Barries eventually gave the farming game away, moving full-time into trucks. The family then went from running three trucks to Russell going solo with one.

Nowadays, Russell is based on the Sunshine Coast, hauling general goods between Brisbane and Townsville in his Detroit DD15-powered Argosy, which has a few added extras in the form of bullbar, lights and chrome.

Russell has done work across state borders, but he now has little interest in running interstate.

"I’m not a Sydney or Melbourne man. I’ve been over to Adelaide a couple of times but I don’t like the rat race down south," Russell says.

"I can get enough work coming up to Townsville and down to Brisbane without going to Sydney. They can do without me."

Russell recently picked up extra work in both directions, but it’s still a battle with the ever-rising costs of fuel and registration.

"You never stop chasing your tail," he says.

However, Barrie Farming is making a mile, and a dollar. Russell regards his wife Carol, who handles all the paperwork, as the backbone of the business. It’s a genuine partnership.

"We are both getting on a bit, but I guess if she said tomorrow that she was pulling the pin on it, then that would be the end of it," Russell says.

"I’ll be sorry when I’m too old to do it all, but while I’m healthy I’ll keep going for a while yet."

You can read the full story on Russell Barrie in the November edition of Owner//Driver.

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