Syd Payne was born and raised in Colac, Victoria. At 19 years he was conscripted to serve in the Vietnam War. He spent two years in the Army, first in combat and later driving trucks, it was here that his love of driving began.
Returning home from the war in late 1970, Syd decided to pursue a career as a semi-trailer driver and started working for a local company in nearby Cororooke, later he joined up with Cracknell’s Transport, where he started running from Melbourne to Perth. It was at this time that his long haul career began, travelling to Sydney and Adelaide.
In 1972 with his wife Barbara, they decided to purchase their own truck. This was a Volvo G88, and he sub-contracted to Reynolds. Two years later he purchased a new White Road Commander and joined Cracknell’s Transport, where he ran the Melbourne to Perth haul. Some would say that the Nullabour Plain isn’t the most exciting drive, but to Syd it was a pleasure. Whilst he loved the drive, his truck gave him nothing but grief, so after surviving four years of costly repair bills he bought a Kenworth Aerodyne. He was sub-contracting to Mayne Nickless Company Division, Jetspress.
Syd loved the East to the West run but he was spending a lot of time in Perth waiting for freight to return back to Melbourne, so in 1981 he made the decision to move his family from Victoria to Western Australia to spend more time with them. In 1984 it was time to upgrade and he purchased a new Kenworth W900 Golden Nugget to continue the journey. 1987 Syd decided to give up long haul driving and sold his beloved Kenworth and purchased an eight tonner to do local work instead, before becoming the Operations Manager at the same company he had sub contracted to, Jetsroad (Formally Jetspress).
In 1996 he became Fleet Maintenance Manager for Toll Transport, where he worked until his retirement in 2012. He still has a keen interest in the road transport industry with both his sons following in his footsteps. During retirement both Syd and his wife Barbara travelled out on the roads of Australia, but this time at a much more leisurely pace.