Truck driving trumps mining for livestock transporter

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Jamie 13 Jamie Wallace prefers hauling livestock over other freight. Jamie 13
Jamie 16 The 6900 Western Star travels all over Queensland hauling livestock. Jamie 16
Jamie 20 The 6900 Constellation is the only Western Star in the Willoughby fleet. Jamie 20

Jamie Wallace gave mining a go, but realised hauling livestock was the perfect fit.

 

Jamie Wallace was busy hosing out crates behind a 6900 series Western Star Constellation at the Gracemere saleyards in Queensland, but was happy to take a break to chat with Owner//Driver recently.

Gracemere is around 9km west of Australia’s beef capital Rockhampton. It’s a regular destination for Jamie, who drives for Willoughby Livestock Transport near Mackay.

He has been with Willoughby Livestock Transport for seven years, but left once for a stint in the mining sector.

It was short-lived, with Jamie returning to life as a livestock transporter after nine months.

"For the first few months the wife and kids loved it because of the time I got to spend at home, but it wasn’t for me. I think if you were bred into the mining industry or came in off the street it would be OK," he says.

"It was hard because on the road we think for ourselves; we are thinking about the motorist coming towards you, your next job and your cattle. On a mine site they do all your thinking for you.

"I couldn’t handle it and came back to cows again."

Jamie has been around trucks since he was a child, starting out as a gate opener for his grandfather Col Matton who ran a few trucks.

Jamie first learned to drive around the age of 12. His grandfather ran a mix of UDs, Fords and Mercedes-Benz trucks.

"They were day cabs and at night we would sleep under the trailers," he says.

By the age of 14, Super-Liners and Scanias began to appear on the scene, making it a lot easier for Jamie and his brother Joe to tag along.

"My brother and I just lived in the trucks. Our house used to be right alongside the depot and as soon as a truck would start up, we’d be over there," he says.

"Mum would be yelling at us that we had school. We didn’t care — we were going for another ride.

"I didn’t think I’d really know of any other job I wanted to do."

Jamie loves his job so much that his wife sometimes questions if it really is work.

"I think my wife thinks I am on a big holiday sometimes," he says.

"The best part of the job is the variety of places we go. We cart cattle from all over Queensland; as far west as Mt Isa, north to Normanton, south-west as far as Windorah, south to Casino and everywhere in between.

"I don’t think life could get any better."

 

You can read the Jamie Wallace’s full story in the November edition of Owner//Driver.

 

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