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Country Conversation

If you want to talk about trucks, there’s nowhere better over the Queen’s Birthday weekend than Alexandra

During most weeks Alexandra is a relatively sleepy town that sits on the crossroads of the Maroondah Highway and the Goulburn Valley Highway in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. Melbourne lies off to the southwest, by about 130 km, and the town forms a gateway to Lake Eildon, National Parks and snowfields.

The main street has probably more than its share of pubs and cafes, and for most of the year it’s popular with tourists looking for well-priced accommodation in and around a peaceful town. Peaceful, that is, except for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June when the town becomes a mecca for every type of truck from highway haulers to timber jinkers.

Alexandra hosts the Truck, Rod and Ute Show, and at 5:00 a.m. on the Sunday morning there’s an invasion of chrome, stainless steel, high horsepower and thousands of onlookers, all attending the largest gathering of trucks at any show in country Victoria or New South Wales.

This year was the 17th event, and once again the residents of Alexandra showed that country hospitality just can’t be beaten. Organised by a local events committee that’s staffed entirely by volunteers, the annual event brings in much needed tourism dollars to the community that has suffered in recent times through fires and a reduction in the timber industry. All proceeds for this year went to local charity, The Kellock Lodge Building Appeal for Aged Care.

This year’s event provided the added benefit of hosting the inaugural gathering of families that had lost their loved ones while they worked in the transport industry – the intention here being to set up a memorial in the town. Other memorials to drivers exist at Tarcutta and in Gatton, but the objective for the Alexandra Memorial is to provide a centre for Victorians to gather to pay their respects at a location convenient to Melbourne.

For truck lovers, the show was the largest in its 17-year history, with literally hundreds of trucks arriving in the dark and mist of the early morning and lining up, as the main streets were closed so they could take up their positions on display.

Every street contained the best examples of working trucks that ranged from standard vehicles to those that had been heavily customised. In the side streets too small for large trucks there were displays of immaculate street rods and customised utes, interspersed with trade displays.

This was also a year for the truck makers and truck distributors themselves to participate, and leading the pack was Scania Australia, which brought the unique Black Amber customised truck that had formed the centrepiece of the company’s display at the recent Brisbane Truck Show. Flanking the “Black Amber” truck was a maroon Scania R730, the highest horsepower truck available on the Australian market.

Also on display straight from the Brisbane Truck Show was the IVECO Powerstar Road Train prime mover as part of the display of the latest IVECO products, including an all-wheel-drive rigid truck version. Representatives from Adtrans Used Trucks and CMV Trucks were also on hand to demonstrate their examples of the latest products brought to the town especially for the event.

Hartwigs of Wagga Wagga is a multi-franchised dealership that had a wide selection of its latest vehicles on display, including the 30th anniversary Western Star and the latest Freightliner Coronado 114 and Argosy prime movers.

Corporate sponsorship plays an important part of guaranteeing the success of a country show, and, for this year, one of the major sponsors was Volkswagen Australia, which showcased its Amarok ute range in conjunction with Shepparton dealer, Darryl Twitt Volkswagen.

The manufacturer of the Amarok, Volkswagen Australia, sponsored the appearance of leading country singer, Adam Harvey, who headed a line-up of country music stars that included JR Williams, Tracy Killeen and Sydney-based band Simply Bushed.

Local Caltex fuel supplier, Simpson’s of Alexandra, was once again also a major sponsor that worked in well with the sponsorship involvement of Scania Australia, as Simpson’s operate immaculate Scania trucks in its fleet for local fuel distribution.

 

  Category Name Make Model
T1 Best Truck of the Show Andrea Crawford Peterbilt 388 2010
T2 Best Truck Under 3 Years Andrea Crawford Peterbilt 388 2010
T3 Best Truck 4-9 Years Thorpe Interstate Kenworth T604 2004
T4 Best Truck 10-19 Years Thorpe Interstate Kenworth T950 1998
T5 Best Truck 20-29 Years Shane Kelly Western Star Cheyenne 1984
T6 Best Truck 30-39 Years Ad Trans Kenworth K125 1979
T7 Best Truck 40 Years and Over Max Pollard International R200 1968
T8 Best Local Truck Sutton Transport Western Star 4800 2012
T9 Best Small Fleet Thorpe Interstate Kenworth T950 1998
T10 Best Tow Truck Matt Ritchie Kenworth K200 2013
T11 Best Tilt Tray Tow Truck Danny Payne Cat CT610 2010
T12 Best Log Truck David Blackwood Kenworth T659 2012
T13 Best Log Truck New to 3 Years David Blackwood Kenworth T659 2012
T14 Best Log Truck 4 Years and Over Brett Conway Western Star Short 2007
T15 Best Tipper GF & RK Baker Western Star A800 2010
T16 Best European Truck Aaron Pendlebury Volvo FH16700 2013
T17 Best Vintage Truck Pre-1960 Ron Ridd Chev Slake Side 1942

Other sponsors of the event this year included VicForests, Murrundindi Shire Council, Adtrans Used Trucks, Scania Australia, Volkswagen Australia, Foodworks, Alexandra Traders and Tourism Association, Hedger Construction, Coates Hire, Mount Pleasant, Landmark Embling, Royan Truck and Trailer Repairs, E-Tec electrical technology, Thirsty Camel, PowerTorque magazine, Alexandra & Yea PreMix, and Upper Goulburn Community radio.

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