Respecting the road repairer

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk

Many truckies bemoan the state of Australian highways, but aren’t keen on road repairs slowing them down either – just ask Peter Hackett.

Respecting the road repairer
Peter Hackett is enjoying life after moving from the mainland.


Like every state in Australia, Tasmania needs road repairs and that provides constant work for those who deliver hot mix to the road crews and supplies to the asphalt plant.

Peter Hackett has been driving trucks for over 40 years and has been in the bitumen industry for 33 of those, sometimes to the annoyance of motorists and other truck drivers.

"We do disrupt their day as they do need to slow down, stop and wait – you see their mannerisms and behaviour change quite a bit.

"Some get a bit cranky while others just wave and smile."

Patience is required in his business, whether you are spraying bitumen, laying asphalt or delivering pre-coat stone. Like a lot of transport jobs, a delay down the line means a delay for Peter.

"You can get to a job and things aren’t just quite right and find you may have to wait around for some time," he says, but "most of the time, you get to the job site and the boys are ready for us."

Peter is based in Launceston and drives a Volvo for Venarchie Contracting. The fleet consists of 10 body trucks, five trailers, bitumen sprayers, rollers and an asphalt plant.

"Venarchie have their own sprayer and crews and is pretty much self-sufficient in everything they do" he describes.

Peter moved to Tasmania from far-north Queensland in December 2008.

"It was a great move," he says. "I love it down here as everything seems to move a bit slower."

Peter’s first truck was a Leyland Albion and at age 19 was carting roof tiles from Townsville to Tully and general goods from Cairns to Mackay.

"Peter Hackett’s Volvo FH is one of Venarchie Contracting’s 10-strong fleet."

Peter’s Volvo is an FH12 with 500hp and an I-Shift speed gearbox.

"I like the Volvo, it is very comfortable," he says. "They are a great truck."

When it comes to taking the Volvo out on the Tasmanian roads, Peter doesn’t understand what the locals are complaining about.

"The roads over here aren’t too bad! I find them pretty good to be honest," he says.

"I think they need to go over to the mainland – there are some bad roads over there!"

To read Peter Hackett's story in full, see the October 2016 edition of Owner//Driver.

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