PERKINS, Warren "Porky"

It would have been about 1971-72 when Warren “Porky” Perkins commenced his career in Truck Driving when he was a Boiler Attendant at The Norco Butter Factory in Casino.

Warren’s main job was picking up sawdust from the local timber mills in an old Matchbox Acco with a tipper on it and taking it back to the Norco Butter Factory where it was used to fuel the boilers. He would then load it into the hopper by way of a front end loader.

On many occasions Warren would be seen on the front steps of the Butter Factory Cafe during Smoko and Lunch sucking on his Vanilla Milkshake and watching the cattle trucks from Drewell Transport Depot, 400 yards down the road roar past. They had a bit of a mixture in their fleet from International Acco’s with mighty 903 Cummins, to the 1923 single drive Mercedes Benz, and a B61 Mack sporting the mighty quad box, a challenge for any aspiring truckie, but Porky reckoned he was up to the challenge.

Not only did he have the fastest car in town, a gleaming Ford Falcon with a 351 Cleveland, with his long hair at the time looked very much like Pop Star Daryl Braithwaite from Sherbert which always kept the local girls in a spin.

On the weekends Warren would go down to the Drewell Transport Depot , which was owned by Warren and Norm Knight , just to be around the truck, and perhaps to pick up a weekend drive if something came up, he was more than happy to fill in.

It wasn’t long before this became a regular thing on the weekends and Warren would find himself, jumping in and out of the different trucks, from the B61 Mack to the 1923 Benz and then the 903 Acco’s. He even got a go in the Diamond Rio with the 6-53 GM and the 10 speed box. This truck was a bit different because the accelerator pedal was in the middle and the brake pedal was on the right hand side. This truck was also a major contributor to industrial deafness, coz Jesus Christ it was loud.

Well as time progressed it wasn’t long before Warren threw in his job as a boiler attendant, and took up a full time position with Drewell Transport , driving a 903 International Acco 2150 single single drive, and was towing a bogie trailer with a deck and a half stock crate.

Warren stayed at Drewell Transport for a while gaining valuable experience in Road Transport , like how to get yourself going when you broke down, because there was no mobile phones back then, and even the AM C radios were only good for 100 yds unless you had a side band set. Drewell Transport was a wild set up where you did your own servicing and maintenance, brake relines and wheel bearings, most of it was out in the open as they didn’t have a much shed space. Warren always commented that he only ever stayed there for the laughs coz the money wasn’t much good. He also recalls if you broke down and managed to get a phone to ring Warren Knight the Boss, he would reply “ that is a terrible truck that one see ya” in other words sort it out yourself.

It was after Warren Drewell left Drewell Transport, he went to work for Farquhar’s Transport in Lismore, where he worked for some years making his mark in the general freight area of the Road Transport Industry. It was here that Warren made many friendships with men in te same field, driving the Pacific Highway every night and seeing plenty of other parts of the country as well.

It was after Farquhar’s were taken over by Norton’s Transport in Lismore that an opportunity presented itself, where by Warren accepted the chance to purchase a truck he was driving, being an International T Line powered by a 300 Cummins and work for himself, towing a trailer for Norton’s as a subbie.

Warren soon had a list of contacts in the industry and with his tenacity and determination purchased his own trailer and went out on his own, quickly learning the do’s and dont’s in managing your own business, but he had the work ethic and intelligence to make it a success. So much so that it was only a couple of years before he traded the T-Line and purchased an Atkinson with am 8-92 GM

This was a very proud day for Warren and his Family, and also the talk of the town as friends and relatives all flocked to Warrens house to check out the new banger and everyone wanted to be the first to go for a spin in it

Warren continued on with his challenge carting timber out of local sawmills to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and 9 times out of 10 would load back out of Chemtrans, where Warrens reliability and people skills made him a permanent subbie, things were going great but work started to decline in the general freight area due to the recession we had to have , so Warren called on his old skills as a stock carter and took his Atkinson back to hauling livestock for Knights Tramsport who bought out Drewell Transport.

It was during the mid eighties when the drought had a grip on the western are of NSW and Warren clocked up many kms in the Atkinson and there seemed to be no end of work in the livestock job, and that lead to Warren becoming a permanent subbie for Jim and Helen Savage at Tamworth. Once again Warren’s work ethic held him in good stead and kept his work base consistent which allowed him in 1989 to order his dream truck, a Kenworth T650 with a high rise sleeper and all the bells and whistles. What a nice piece of gear this truck was, definitely a head turner and was very recognisable everywhere it went. It was made more famous in a local documentary on how young drivers should be trained , starring Willie Havago and Kenny MaKeamile, just a bit of fun after a few beers one Saturday.

Things couldn’t have been better for Warren, there was plenty of work, he had one of the best trucks on the road under him and the future was bright, until midway through 1990 when on a trip from Narrabri to Casino, Warrens T650 overturned about 25 km east of Tenterfield on the Bruxner Highway. The truck wasn’t a write off but it was badly damaged, going over on the right hand side on a badly cambered side of the corner. Two days later Warren’s wife Julie passed away from cerebral haemorrhage and Warren’s world came crashing down.

Leaving him with two little boys to look after and a truck in the repair shop, Warren was at a loss to think what he had done to suffer such devastation in a couple of days , his world would never bee the same again.

But to his credit he steadied the ship and with the help of his family and friends got back on his feet, and worked for Jim Savage as a company driver while the T650 was being repaired.

Once the Kenworth was repaired Warren went back to work subbing for Jim Savage , but the livestock game had slowed somewhat, which had Warren feeling a bit edgy about his future with Jim Savage as Jin’s Company was also making a transition from Savage to Stockmaster.

As Warren had been looking about for a more consistent line of work he rang Joe Sepos at Heatherbrae and asked Joe if he was looking for tow operators and Joe said he had a spare van if he wanted to come and hook onto it which he did.

It was this decision that lead Warren to be in the position he is in now, as after towing that Fridge Van for Joe , a spot became available in Joe Sepos’ Stocktrans as a subbie and with Warren’s experience in Livestock Transport made for a perfect fit. After about 18 months the Managers Position at Stocktrans became available and Joe Sepos immediately offered it to Warren

It was on January 12 1992 Warren Perkins took over as the Manager of Stocktrans when their depot was based in Grafton and moved to Glen Innes in 1997 where it is now, and he has been there ever since. His knowledge of trucks and transport and how to communicate with customers and drivers has made Stocktrans one of the most successful and continuing business in the road Transport Industry and more than worthy of his nomination for The National Road Transport Hall of Fame