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A Day in the life of a road train driver.

A Day in the life of a road train driver.

Cody Williams on 8th Nov 2019

My name is Cody and my main job here at Gogo Station is operating the stations road train.

It’s said that no 2 days on a station are the same, and here is no exception! Gogo has its own 6 deck, triple road train for moving cattle whether it is internal paddock carting or trucking sale cattle to export depots, abattoirs and feedlots as well as some external subcontracting. When not trucking cattle, I can be found carting supplies, carting dirt, or moving our equipment around the station.

The majority of our sale cattle are trucked to export depots just outside of Broome destined for the live export market or to be spelled and dipped for cattle tick before heading south, although I have also trucked cattle to Wyndham, Katherine and Darwin. Loading cattle begins at first light in the morning, once loaded it takes around 5-6hrs to travel the 400kms to Broome, a round trip taking 13-14hrs

Once mustering starts so does paddock carting! Paddock carting is just trucking cattle around the station. Here at Gogo we use 7 sets of mustering yards with 2 main processing yards, the closest mustering yard to the main processing yards is 80kms, the furtherest is 200kms. Apart from the Gt Northern Hwy and the Cherrabun Road which run through the station all the trucking is on station tracks. The tracks are all graded before trucking starts, however they deteriorate rapidly once road trains start travelling on them, churning up sandy sections and blowing out massive sections of bull dust. When the roads deteriorate it becomes a battle between driver and the road, always trying your hardest not to get bogged, not to wreck your truck and ensure the cattle are unloaded in good condition. Our days start before sunrise to ensure we are on the loading ramp ready to load at first light, which means either getting up extremely early or heading out to the yards the night before and camping in the truck. Once you start loading in the morning the whole day becomes a race against the night, trying to beat it to get the last load off before dark! However no day ever comes without a few setbacks: uncooperative cattle, changing tyres, deteriorated roads, getting bogged, etc. often means unloading in the dark. After unloading the day doesn’t end, trucks need to be fuelled, tyres need to be sorted out, drivers need to be fed and showered and miles need to be made to make sure the trucks are at the next loading ramp for first light again.

When things are quiet at the station, subcontracting work often keeps me busy trucking cattle all over the Kimberley’s, loading export ships in Broome, and occasionally ending up in new places such as the Northern Territory, Pilbara region and even further south to Perth. It’s a tough job, with long days but I love the challenges and variety!