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Year: 2015

Rowland (Roly) Hawson was born 8th July 1952 to Harold and Mary Hawson on a fruit block at Nichols Point near Mildura, Victoria. At an early age he wanted to be a steam train driver but by the time he turned 16, the trains were now diesel. He started his working career as an apprentice motor mechanic in 1966 and worked on International trucks and then changing his preference to motor vehicles. In 1973 he did his first trip for Sunraysia Drinks driving an Acco tray what they called a Butter Box from Mildura to Murraybridge.

Roly finally gave away the spanners in 1978 and started driving fulltime for WA Young hauling from Mildura to Adelaide five times a fortnight carrying market and back loading general freight. At this stage he was driving a single drive GM Dodge with a 36 foot bogie trailer. In August 1979 WA Young (Mildura) was sold to Ted and George Pickering of the Pickering Transport Group and became the Kelly & Young division of Pickering Transport Group. Late 1979 he was driving a bogie GM and started to run Melbourne in the early 1980s. The GM's were a 195 hp which make them slow when carrying heavy loads. The petrol Dodge 361s were rated at 202 hp, and sometimes the 361's would pass the GMs easily. Late 1980s he then progressed to a 3070 Acco with a 903 Cummins rated at 295 hp with a 15 speed road ranger. Roly was the first to get a truck with Kelly & Young on the door.

Roly left the road in 1985 to grade and bitumise the roads for a change and worked for the then Mildura Shire Council driving graders and the bitumen sprayer and moving the heavy machinery to many job sites with the Benz float, finally driving the grader maintaining the country roads in the Millewa and Sunset Areas.

The call of the road was too strong to resist and in 2006 Roly resumed driving for Pickering's Transport Group again mainly driving Kenworth B-double to Adelaide Market and general freight backload. Most of the Kenworths were powered by Cummins with an 18 speed transmission. Roly spent time driving all sorts of trucks five trips a week in five different trucks. In 2007 he was given an International, an Iveco bonnet, a Freightliner with a Cummins 475 hp and a 13 speed transmission carrying market and containers to Adelaide and Melbourne. In 2009 he got a bonneted Freightliner, C12 Cat rated 410 hp with an 18 speed transmission. The highlight of his driving career was taking a road train to Darwin from Adelaide in 2010 carting Woolworths freight. The train tracks had been washed away during the floods in the Northern Territory near Alice Springs.

2014 Roly came off mainstream driving and now does shuttle change over Mildura to Charlton and return five nights a week driving a Kenworth 408, 18 speed day cab. The same year Roly purchased a 1978 D5N Dodge Tray Truck, 245 Hemi four speed gear box, with plans to restore it and will love to drive it to Alice Springs in the near future, all going well.

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