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Year: 2015

Robert Andrew Saunders (Grubby or Bob) was born on August 8th 1947 in East Melbourne. His family moved to Cobram when he was eight years old. He grew up around trucks and his oldest brother John had an International AS182. Bob spent school holidays and weekends greasing, loading and washing trucks for Kortums, Fred Lee and Red Dunn. Bob moved back to Melbourne as an 18 year old and did an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic with the CRB in Syndal then Blackwood Hodge in Clayton.

His first driving job was in 1970 for one tomato season for Roy Kortum in Cobram, then from 1971 he spent four years driving for Don Flack Transport, his first trucks being a 7 Series Dodge and Commer tray truck delivering mainly P & H cranes and new Kenworth trucks Australia wide. Don also had Pilot Vehicles (GT Falcons) and ran a permit delivery service before there were fax machines.

In 1975 he went to work for W Thomson & Sons ( step deck extendable and steerable Jinker work ) in Huntingdale. A load of note was a circus elephant around the streets of Box Hill, the Burke and Wills statue from Carlton Gardens to the City Square in 1979 and a yacht (Sunburst) for the Admiral's Cup.

In 1980 Bob started driving for Lance Smith Heavy Haulage. His first heavy haulage job was the bifurcate for Wivenhoe Dam with Bill Smith supervising. He also did jobs for the Moomba Gas fields (dirt roads), pressure vessels (four) from Melbourne to Brisbane in 1983 and various others Australia wide.

In 1984 Lance Smith Heavy Haulage closed down and Hi-Haul started. Bob bought his first truck (The Old Girl) from Lance Smith which was an Atkinson 115T rated Mark II 350 Cummins five speed, four speed Spicer gear boxes and Eton differentials. He worked for Hi-Haul for four years and jobs included several Heat Exchangers from Coffs Harbour to Karratha (Burrup Peninsula). In 1989 he took time off from interstate to spend time at home with the kids and did concrete panels for Darren Thomson.

In the early 1990s he started doing some work for Megalift (formerly Walter Wrights) and jobs around that time include Stanwell Power Station from Gladstone to Stanwell and Melbourne to Loy Yang driving the Scammell as part of a beams (transformer) load.

In 1994 Bob bought his second truck (Junior Burger), a 1987 Mack Valueliner 80T rated 350, 12 speed gearbox, 44000lb Mack differentials and continued to work for Hi-Haul and Megalift. In 1996 he was lucky enough to get a gig on the Catalytic Converter job which won World Wide Move of the Year which he drove one of Megalift's Superliners which he considers to be a highlight.

Bob then did 12 months based in Gladstone Queensland with Megalift carting pot shells for a new pot line for Queensland Alumina from Brisbane to Boyne Island. In 1997 he worked out of Port Augusta for 12 months on the Olympic Dam expansion project (Megalift) which included many large loads and in 1999 did two trips for Brambles carting dump trucks with Des Gimm (dec) (Brambles Brisbane) from Meekathara in Western Australia to Cloncurry in Queensland.

In 2001 there was the Tarong Power station job (Megalift) where there were two big beams loads, carting a Kenworth Dart around on the back of his float and hooking up when needed, these were the longest loads ever at the time with beams having inserts.

In 2002 Bob bought his third truck (Mankind), a 1993 Kenworth T950, 525 Cummins 18 speed road ranger Man hub reduction diffs, six rod suspension, 150T rated and did 12 months for Doolan's working on the Challicum Hills wind farm at Ararat.

From 2002 to 2011 Bob did work for Doolans & Specialised Logistics Services (Phil Dent) carting conveyor belts for mines in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland and in 2008 worked on the Waubra wind farm for Keppel Prince. From 2005 to 2012 he was a part of numerous big loads which featured in Truckin' Life as push/pull and standby for Bradshaws and Tutt Bryant and in 2006 was involved in two big loads (400 tonne) from Esperance Port to Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine for Lampsons.

In 2011 Bob moved back to Gladstone and for three years did work for Gladstone Low Loaders (Mick Casey) Walz Constructions (Curtis Island project) and Gavin Farraway. All in all Bob has worked in the road transport industry for 45 years, 30 of which he has been an owner driver. Approximately the last 18 years with wife Lyn spent working on jobs with her as a pilot vehicle operator and a special mention of Don Flack (dec), Bill Smith & Norm Bradshaw's influence on his career.

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