Hopping past her critics


A former driver in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Natalie Hopping now drives a T359 Kenworth for Penrith-based JK Williams

Hopping past her critics
Natalie Hopping and her T359 Kenworth.

 

Natalie Hopping is a shining example of how women can play a major role in Australia’s road transport industry, while going some way into solving the driver shortage problem.

Not surprisingly, Nat felt right at home in the Pilbara region where she worked for four years. The Pilbara is fast becoming a popular destination for female truckies.

These days Nat drives for Penrith-based JK Williams where she drives a T359 Kenworth. Nat has been with Williams for close on a year and is enjoying her job and the change of pace that it brings after WA’s mining areas.

"I have always had a love of machinery," Nat explains. "My dad, Steve, used to drive race cars. I’ve been around speedway my whole life and I sort of got my love of machines through that."

Nat spent most of her time behind the wheel of Kenworths up in the Pilbara. Working in a mostly male dominated industry, she received her share of ribbing, but says she enjoyed the experience.

"They gave it to me and I would give it back to them," she smiles. "It was a great environment where you were respected for your abilities and being able to do your job. That is what counted the most, plus I had some fun as well."

With the downturn in mining, Nat found herself back in Sydney and for the first time driving a truck in busy traffic. However, she says she’s slowly getting into the grind of it.

"I’d rather be back at the mine," she exclaims. "Give me Western Australia any day."

 

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In a male-dominated workplace, Natalie has gained respect from her peers.

 

Although she adds a proviso that, as far as living goes, she prefers Sydney a whole lot more.

Pleased that she’s accomplished what other people said she couldn’t, Nat says her parents are right behind her, although she admits they do worry when she’s out on the road.

"I think they are happy are happy for me because I enjoy the work and it’s something I like doing."

See the full story in the May 2016 issue of Owner//Driver magazine. 

 

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