Jim Hurley has amassed an eclectic array of trucks and machinery that collectively span the 76 years Brown and Hurley has been in business.
Brown and Hurley network of Paccar dealerships selling Kenworth and DAF across Queensland and Northern NSW has been built, is its sense of loyalty and tradition.
That tradition is reflected in the vintage truck and machinery collection Jim has curated at the home of Brown and Hurley in Kyogle NSW.
This stunning W923 is the very first Kenworth sold new by Brown and Hurley to Toowoomba-based operator Doug Wyton in 1965.
On the 50th anniversary of that sale, Doug’s son Gordon Wyton bought a Kenworth T909, painted in the same livery.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we’re still doing business with the same family 50 years on,” Jim comments, adding that this is a common occurrence with the company.
“Probably the most rewarding part of what we do is the amount of repeat customers we have,” Jim says. “We’re now doing business with a lot of third generation customers.”
He believes that over 75 per cent of Brown and Hurleys business comprises repeat custom.
“If you look after your customers, they’ll look after you,” he says.
Jim adds that another really rewarding aspect of the business is seeing customers who started with one or two trucks grow into major fleets.
“Their growth has helped us grow too, and I’ve made many friendships over the year with customers who, like us, have benefited from the strength and reliability of the Kenworth brand.”
As I bid farewell to Jim, it occurs to me that his ‘baby’, the museum, is a fitting tribute to the hard work of the Brown and Hurley family members, past and present, and their loyal staff.
From two blokes who met in the army and started from scratch with a bicycle repair business in Kyogle, a mighty truck sales empire has grown.
And now, Jim Hurley has the pleasure of hosting the museum with its array of vehicles, each with its own special significance to him and the company to which he has dedicated his life.
This truck was delivered to McGeary Bros at Woodburn on 26-6-79 and was used to cart mineral sand to Brisbane for refining. It was eventually parked in a shed for about 20 years until Rodney and Dean McGeary donated it to Brown and Hurley where it underwent restoration.
It is powered by a Cummins NTC 350 coupled with an Eaton Fuller RT 915 15-speed RoadRanger transmission. This feeds into a Rockwell SSHD 44,000lb tandem drive riding on Kenworth Torsion Bar suspension. Wheelbase is 165” and Gross Vehicle Weight is 22,700kg.
By far the most ancient machine in the museum, this century old White 40R with solid rubber tyres is a replica of one bought by Jim’s grandfather Mick Hurley to replace his bullock team.
At the time Mick was logging around Coramba near Coffs Harbour when a particularly wet spell caused the work to dry up. Undaunted, he headed west to Gunnedah and carted wheat, following the harvest north up to the Darling Downs region in Queensland.
While heading back to Coramba he got bogged 25km north of Kyogle and people from a nearby sawmill came to the rescue, pulling him out with their horse team.
Mick then loaded the truck with sawn timber for the railhead at Kyogle and was back that same afternoon for a second load. This was a three-day round trip for a horse team, so it was hardly surprising that as word got around various mills in the region contracted him to cart their timber to the railhead.
Before long, work had started on extending the railway line through to Brisbane and Mick scored the job of carting all the steel for the railway bridges and hauling timber back. As a result, Mick moved his family to Kyogle, the town which remains home base for the Brown and Hurley business some 100 years on.
The White 40R is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine with a removable cylinder head that produces 28.9hp.
It has four forward gears and one reverse, a hub reduction rear axle and rides on a 4,420mm wheelbase.