Home and abroad, Tim Parker clocks more than 50 years in trucking

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Tim Parker 5 Tim Parker has 50 years’ driving experience across two continents. Tim Parker 5
Tim Parker 7 Tim Parker gets around in a Mack Titan at the moment, but he has spent most of his career behind the wheel of Kenworth-branded trucks. Tim Parker 7
Tim Parker 12 The Mack Titan hauls a set of Rhino trailers. Tim Parker 12
Tim Parker 15 The Titan has a 600hp MP10 under the bonnet. Tim Parker 15

Tim Parker’s driving career has taken him from the dust of outback Queensland to the superhighways of North America.

 

Shaw’s Livestock Transport driver Tim Parker was biding his time at the Gracemere saleyards just out of Rockhampton in Queensland when Owner//Driver arrived.

Tim drives a 2014 Mack Titan, one of three in the Shaw’s fleet. Over the years he’s mostly spent his time behind the wheel of Kenworths, although he says the Mack is a comfortable truck and the 600hp MP10 offers plenty of grunt.

"It is a ‘Volvo’, but it does the job," he says.

Tim has been with Shaw’s for almost a year. In total he’s clocked more than 50 years on the road, which included 10 years in North America.

"I started out in a little International with a single trailer running out west. I was raised on a cattle property, so I’ve mainly hauled cattle," he says.

Tim recalls his early days in the industry when there were no heaters in the cab and dust poured through every opening.

 

Tim Parker (5)

Tim Parker has five decades of truck driving experience across two continents.

 

He’d often drive with blankets and large army coats in places such as Cunnamulla and further west where the temperature would drop to zero. The trucks and terrain of the time offered their own challenges.

"A lot of the time you could only do 30mph; trucks didn’t have much horsepower in those days and the roads were so rough and corrugated," Tim says.

Tim says livestock loading and unloading procedures have improved since he first started, with solar-powered automatic ramps replacing the old wind-up versions.

During his time in North America, Tim mainly hauled refrigerated freight, although he did some cattle runs, mostly between Canada and Mexico, a trip of around 6,500km.

"It’s completely different over there. The crates are closed in or the cattle will freeze to death during winter," he says.

 

Tim Parker (7)

Tim currently drives a Mack, but he's spent most of his career driving Kenworths.

 

Tim highlights road conditions as a key difference between the US and Australia.

"Over there you’re on four lane superhighways. You could go right across the country and never leave the highway," he says.

Ideally Tim believes there should be a four lane highway between Brisbane and Cairns.

During his time in North America, Tim drove a mix of Kenworths, Internationals, Fords and Peterbilts. All had less horsepower than their Australian counterparts, although the gross weights were less.

"It was a great experience, I saw a lot of country and it cost me nothing," Tim says.

"It was a pretty good holiday."

 

 You can read Tim Parker’s full story in the February issue of Owner//Driver magazine.

 

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