Mighty Machines TV Episode 2: A journey down the Old Hume part 2

By: Matt Wood, Photography by: Stephen Dwight , Video by: John Beirouty


Part two of Steve Brooks and Matt Wood's journey down the old Hume, one of the features in the second episode of our new Mighty Machines TV show on 10 Bold.

Back on the old Hume, ny colleague Steve Brooks got the job of steering the sensitive new age ‘Star while I wrestled with the barely power assisted steering of the White and the back-to-front gear pattern of the overdrive ‘box.

As Steve idled sedately up the Razorback Range I had to take a more proactive approach. Meaning I had to keep the right foot flat and the gear changes on the money.

The White certainly isn’t lacking any aural drama and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t enjoying the demanding job of piloting the old 4000.

Before the completion of the Hume Freeway the Old Hume Highway through Camden, Picton, and Bargo would have been alive with a nocturnal Detroit, Cummins, and Caterpillar bellow. 

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These towns are now sedate little tourist villages that do little to hint of an earlier time.

Every stop was a giveaway to just how far things have progressed. Steve sauntered away from the 4900 like he’d just hopped out of the family sedan.

I was however, walking like Buffalo Bill with my ears ringing.

The comparisons between the two are endless. The massive Stratosphere sleeper on the 4900 with its massive king bed is a very pleasant place to be. The dog box sleeper on the White requires feats of anatomic contortion to even get into it.

The tarp load on the old spread triaxle flat top behind the White speaks of a time when ropes and tarps were the norm. The Auto-Hold-Auto Mezzdeck Freighter curtain-sider behind the Western Star points to a future where the driver need only throw a strap or two over a load.

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What it all means

The old road houses are now shut and the old Highway 31 is now a tourist drive. Yet in places, bluestone walls bear the scars of a misjudged corner now over grown with age.

The mists of time gloss over the sheer sweat and determination required to pilot these old trucks down undulating two lane backdrops.

The Western Star 4900 with its blind spot cameras, automated gearbox and lean green powerplant in many ways represents the future of long haul trucking in Australia.

The White? It’s a constant reminder of how far we’ve come.

Our drive down history’s highway certainly showed me that the past is a nice place to visit. But, you really wouldn’t want to live there.           

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