Salvaging pine from a cyclone's carnage

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk

Corbett Timber 041 Corbet’s Timber Haulage Titan with fold-up B-double trailers. Corbett Timber 041
Corbett Timber 042 Scroll work and a few stickers and the Mack’s looking a “million bucks”. Corbett Timber 042

Todd Malycha is a big Mack fan, especially the 2005 Titan he drives for Corbet’s Timber Haulage around the pine plantations of Central Queensland.

Salvaging pine from a cyclone's carnage
Todd Malycha prefers driving Macks over any other make


In 2014 Cyclone Marcia carved its way through the Queensland coast, laying acres and acres of pine plantations around Byfield, an hour or so up from Rockhampton.

Today, there are around 40 trucks running 24 hours a day, five days a week, salvaging the pine before it rots.

Andrew Corbet has nine trucks hauling pine, one of which is a 2005 Mack Titan with an enthusiastic Todd Malycha behind the wheel.

The Titan has been recently rebuilt and refurbished in Corbet’s Timber Haulage own workshops.

"They just don’t make trucks like this," Todd says. "The Cummins and its 600hp in this Titan are just awesome."

Corbet’s trucks are doubled shifted, keeping them running around the clock from Monday to Friday with Todd sharing the Titan with another driver, Barry Merchant.

The pine is hauled from Byfield down to the port of Gladstone where the majority is chipped for export. There is a regular "log jam" during school days however, with a curfew taking place around the Byfield School from 6am to 9am and again from 2pm to 4.30pm.

"We’ve got two years of work here hauling out millions of tonnes of timber. Each shift you do a trip and a half, so you don’t get bored. It’s a pretty good job!"

The fold-up B-double Kennedy trailers were built in 2002 and have since been refurbished.

Although Todd is no stranger to hauling logs, he admits operating the Elphinstone fold-up B-double takes some getting used to.

"I think I’m going to do some damage but no, they are great, well designed and easy to operate," he says.

Todd has driven mainly Kenworths or Volvos over the past 20 years, apart from the occasional Mack, including a Super-Liner out of Mount Gambier.

Todd later moved to South Australia’s Riverland district before relocating to Queensland, which is where he’s been for the past couple of years.

His career has included road trains, hauling triples to Darwin for ABC Transport and over to Perth for HPS Transport.

However, it’s the Titan that maintains Todd’s level of driving enjoyment, with its V8 underneath.

"The rig looks great, a little bit of scroll work and a few stickers and it looks a million bucks," he says.

"Why drive a new truck when you can drive one as good as this?"

Read more on Todd Malycha and the big Mack Titan in the January 2016 edition of Owner//Driver magazine.

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