Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2010.
Des Bailey, born 27:9:1954 is employed full time as a driver for Herb Blanchard Haulage. Des left school in 1968 at the age of 14 and went to work for his uncle sinking tanks on the Birdsville track driving a Dodge collecting fuel.
The old Dodge didn’t have much room or power. It was a lot harder to get the job done, a lot longer to get to places with any comfort and sleeping arrangements were poor but the comradeship was strong.
At 19 he received his semi-licence in QLD and was running Brisbane to Melbourne and Brisbane to Adelaide. At 21 he obtained his NSW semi-licence and started with the PMG. He progressed from an International Bogie axle through to an Acco low loader, Mercedes Quicklift to various Volvo Tri-axle low loaders. During his 23 years with Telstra he not only drove low loaders, he operated dozers and other heavy machinery. Des has been with Blanchard’s for over 12 years driving Volvos and is currently driving a Globetrotter FH12. Des trialled the Tilt Liner trailer when it was first designed and still tows it today along with many other types of trailers.
The front and rear loading boards along with the roof of the Tilt Liner trailer are tilted over by hydraulics to the right hand side of the vehicle which enables overhead loading. Des enjoys driving Volvos with the safety, ease of driving, roominess and comfort being big factors. Des drives mainly Grafton to Sydney and Grafton to Melbourne with trips north into QLD. Freight carried by Des includes timber power poles, bricks and pavers, steel, timber and general freight.
Des won the Natroad Professional Driver of the year in 2004 and the Australian Trucking Associations Professional Driver of the Year in 2005 and was part of the Guinness World Record breaking team for reversing a truck and trailer over 100 kilometres in 2009. Des is very active in Grafton’s Truck Driver’s Social Club Inc being the vice president this year. He is a driving force behind Grafton’s Driver’s Memorial Wall. Des has participated in the Drive for Safety and is constantly lobbying for improvements in road safety and better rest areas for drivers. Des has been trying to have colour-coding of road line markings introduced so that no matter where you were you know what the speed limit is.
Des’s funniest memory of the road is the day the road was blocked with an accident and a fellow driver assured everyone that he knew a way to go around the accident only to lead them into a tomato patch. Des’ worst memories are of accidents he has come across over the years. Improvements to equipment and new fatigue management laws introduced over the years have made it easier to perform driving duties. The introduction of automatic gear boxes, Euro 4 and 5 engines, better fuel economy and pollution emission are definitely pluses on the driving side.