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Prime Mover Magazine

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Ben Maguire

The trials and triumphs of our industry legends

March 2019

An undoubtedly favourite brand of many Aussie trucking companies, Kenworth started designing and manufacturing uniquely Australian trucks in 1971.

Kenworth trucks are the mainstay of many transport businesses and some drivers won’t even climb into anything else.

Not only are the trucks unique, so are the drivers behind the wheel, or the maintenance crew under the hood.

That’s why, each year at the ATA’s Trucking Australia conference, the trucking industry comes together to recognise the incredible achievements of Australia’s Kenworth Legends.

The Kenworth Legends Lunch is a conference highlight, bringing trucking stalwarts together to share their journeys, successes and hopes for the future.

Like the Kenworth brand, the Kenworth Legends are people who have shown inspirations strength, perseverance and success throughout Australia’s trucking industry.

This is about acknowledging industry leaders like Phil Russell who began working for his father’s trucking business as an apprentice in the workshop before taking over in 1970 at just 24 years of age.

Two years later Phil bought his first Kenworth, a K125, with the business now operating more than 50 across the fleet.

It’s also about inspiring others to follow their dreams and take a chance, like Peter Wickham, who told us to listen to those gut instincts.

“If you buy a truck and make a quid with it, just go and buy it,” he said. “Don’t let anyone talk you out of it.”

Peter’s trucking career kicked off in the 1960s.

The family was growing potatoes on a small dairy farm and needed trucks to cart the produce to Brisbane.

Fast-forward 50 years and Wickham’s Freight Lines is now home to 120 Kenworths that cart goods all across Australia.

Although it’s not always easy, legends like Phil and Peter have persevered in times of struggle and triumphed in times of success.

They’ve seen how much the industry has changed over the years and have passed their wisdom along to family members and industry peers.

The Legends have put in the hard yards, building their businesses from the ground up. For them trucking is not just a job. It’s a way of life.

The Legends are humble, inspiring pioneers who have led the way and promoted the true Kenworth spirit. Australia’s transport industry is home to so many incredible individuals who have put their heart and soul into trucking.

It’s important we recognise the contribution they have made and celebrate their successes.

Each year, the ATA hosts the Kenworth Legends Luncheon. We chat about the good times and the bad, the battles of starting a transport business, keeping it going and how things have changed along the way.

We talk about obstacles and success, the sacrifices, the rewards, the great friends they’ve made along the way; and what their hopes are for the future.

This year we will recognise the achievement of more Kenworth Legends at Trucking Australia 2019, held in Perth from 3-5 April.

These are great Australian stories of pioneering people; people who still live amongst us today. Let’s gather in Perth and honour them with the appropriate recognition they deserve.

The conference is also a chance to discover how Western Australian trucking differs from the rest of the country, build professional networks, celebrate industry excellence and join the discussion on important issues we are all facing.

This is your chance to join the nation’s trucking operators and industry stakeholders as we tackle the big issues – together.
Register for Trucking Australia 2019 now to take advantage of discounted airfares and accommodation.

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