Thomas James Forbes, known as Tom, was the first son of Thomas and Sylvia Forbes, born in Quilpie, Queensland in October 1950 with brother, Warren, arriving in 1952 and brother, Ian, in 1954.
Tom caught the driving bug at an early age as his father worked for Clary Hanson, driving a Bedford on various mail runs out from Quilpie, including the Windorah/Tanbar run. When he was 17, Tom went for his truck license in the Bedford which cost him $2.00. A week later, Tom started work with the Quilpie Shire as a nipper.
Tom’s opportunity to climb into the big trucks came in the early 70’s when he took a job carting cattle with the Australian Pastoral Company. This company was the first to use double decker cattle crates in the area which were pulled by Kenworth K100 prime movers with 350 HP GM engines. Tom then tried his hand at general freight, hauling building equipment and supplies, in a White 4000 day cab, from Brisbane, Queensland to Darwin, Northern Territory after Cyclone Tracy. As there was no bunk, Tom had to sleep over the seats but he did enjoy the $10/tonne overload rate he used to receive! Luckily, he never did get caught.
Tom then worked for a few different Queensland companies carting cattle such as Walkers Transport in Surat, McIvers Transport in Dalby, Lighthouse Transport in Roma and Johnson Brothers Transport in Tambo.
Forbes Brothers’ Transport was established in 1980 when the three brothers went thirds in their first prime mover – a 1972 single drive Dodge with a 6V53. Different trucks were purchased over the years, from a V6 Commer and a White 4000 to an Atkinson and a 1980 Kenworth SAR which were used to cart livestock and also oilfield equipment.
After the brothers went their separate ways, Tom purchased a Kenworth W model from Johnson Bros Transport and operated this along with the Kenworth SAR truck for many years. Tom then ventured into the crane industry, purchasing a Steelweld 20 Tonne Slewing mobile crane after which he owned and operated Roma Crane Hire. At one point, he had six cranes ranging from frannas to an 80 Ton Demag. Selling out in 2012, Tom went back to driving for Roma Transport Services for a while.
Currently, Tom is semi-retired, passing on his knowledge as a driver assessor at Coho Resources in Roma. Inducted in 2021