Today's truckies get it easy. Brian Turpie remembers in the old days freight was all loaded by hand and covered by heavy tarpaulins. He was loading salt at the mines in Price South Australia, bear hugging the 180 lb bags coming rapidly off a conveyor belt and having to run to stack them onto the front and rear of the trailer. The bags were so coarse they caused cuts to arms and stomach with blood pouring out. Brian would then have to race back to Adelaide to load Holden car bodies on top of the load to make it a profitable payload.
Early one morning south of Holbrook, New South Wales, Brian came across a semi-trailer crashed into a tree. The driver was trapped and Brian and others could not get him out. The Highway Patrol arrived but shortly after the truck burst into flames. The driver pleaded with the police to shoot him so he would not burn to death. The policeman refused as he said that he could be charged with murder. Unfortunately the end result was tragic.
Brian was driving two up for Mayne Nickless in a left hand drive H Model Mack with Bruce Hedger (deceased). Bruce stopped to repair a broken fan belt and had the cab tilted forward. Brian was asleep in the bunk. He woke up and thinking they had tipped over and kicked the passenger window out to escape. He was shocked to find out what really happened.
Brian was driving a Pioneer Coach on the New England Highway at Black Mountain near Guyra. It was snowing and the coach was stranded as the snow was too deep to drive in. The passengers had to walk up the hill to an all-night truck stop until the all clear was given later.
Again driving for Pioneer from Winton to Charleville north of Longreach on a very hot night, the air conditioner stopped working and Brian asked the passengers to open the windows to allow a little air to flow through. Travelling around an s-bend causeway, a Braham bull came out of nowhere and it hit the left hand front door. Everyone woke up and said what was that?'. A woman sitting down the back of the coach said I know what it is as I am covered in it. That's bullshit on me. Everyone laughed and Brian had to make an urgent stop for a change of clothes for the lady. The Longreach Shell proprietor was kind enough to get out of bed to allow this to happen.