Bathurst, New South Wales
Picture It Competition Entry – Picture D
Oh! I thought as they rolled me off the production line. I am beautiful, I was a new Kenworth truck. I had lovely black new tyres and my chrome shone like glass. My blue exterior and black interior looked spectacular. ‘I will be king of the road.’
My next trip was in a large red container to be shipped from my birthplace in Seattle to a place called Adelaide in far away Australia. The other new trucks had said it was a very big place with lots of kangaroos and to watch out for these creatures, as they deliberately jumped in front of you to make you swerve on the road, they said they were huge, nearly as big as a truck.
I don’t think I will like Australia and certainly not these strange animals.
Next I was offloaded in Adelaide, my new owner Burt, was there to pick me up. Burt would have been in his sixties. He was a very robust man for his age, with big thick muscled arms. He was going grey and his hair cut very short. Piercing blue eyes told that he was aware of every detail on his new Kenworth. I found that Burt was one of the best road train drivers in Australia and owned and maintained a fleet of Kenworth road trains. Burt was to drive me, I felt very proud I was to be the head of his fleet.
It wasn’t until I was out on the road, that I realised just what a road train did and what its purpose was. My trips were to carry several loads to Tom Price and also loads to Kalgoorlie to be picked up by another road train and taken to Perth and there were several large trailers full of goods that had to be pulled. It was hard work but I knew that that was what I had been built for in Seattle.
There were many other problems more serious than kangaroos and I was also surprised to find that the latter was not what I expected, no! The kangaroos were not so huge and certainly did not present a problem with my big bull bar at the front.
One of the most pressing problems were floods, the floods out there spread for miles in the wet season and as the road train was on a time schedule, they could not stop for long and had to drive sometimes through flooded areas. This was very dangerous at night as Burt could not see the road as the road and water seemed the same in the dark. Sometimes he would stop for a rest, the truck drivers had to stop for sleep rests after a certain amount of hours driving. Burt would then write in his log book and then take out his thermos full of coffee and sandwiches, not to forget the fruit cake made by his wife Pam. She would always put a little bit of rum in it, she said to keep him warm and Burt loved this fruit cake, as a drink of his favourite beer was out of the question while he was driving. Next a sleep in the bed in the compartment behind the seats which was called the Dogbox.
It was some time after that, we were travelling once again through the harsh outback when we smelled smoke, the strange smell of dust and burning filled the air, we had been warned earlier of a huge brushfire in the area. These areas covered hundreds of miles of flat country and the fires were on several mile fronts, we had to be careful, but get through as fast as we could or be caught in the middle.
We could see the glow as we neared the area and I shivered as we passed two burnt out road trains on the side of the road. I had heard that they had been caught the year before and the trucks and the drivers incinerated, it was a shocking sight. Burt put the foot down and we raced through, just barely keeping ahead of the fire. Finally as it looked as though it would get to us, at the last minute the wind changed and the fire went in the other direction.
I was so thankful I was owned by Burt, he was indeed, in my opinion, not only the best driver in Australia but after that, Burt was the best in the whole world. And of course as trucks went, so was I.
Bio: This wonderfully vivid painting to me represents the beauty and harshness of the land in Central Australia, its floods and fires and the plight of the mighty Road Trains that have to traverse this country and keep to a strict schedule.