The shots of the Kenworth T610SAR acquaint on the Darby Agriculture and Haulage Facebook folio are what bolt our eye first.
Brilliantly photographed by neighbour Katrina Bebbington at her abutting Mountview Homestead abreast Toowoomba, a appreciative buyer John Darby cheekily announces his newest, and best arresting truck, with the beneath post:
“Darby Agriculture and Haulage would like to advertise the accession of a new babyish babe to the Family, her name is T6TEN, parents are accomplishing well.”
Darby ability able-bodied joke, but this is a austere allotment of accessory for the 70-year-old that caps 47-years of blood, sweat, and tears in the agriculture game.
Up until now, he’s relied on mostly Internationals – S-Lines and T-Lines were two favourites – and aback 2005, Western Stars accept been the mainstay of the Toowoomba-based operation that punches able-bodied aloft its weight up and bottomward the eastern seaboard.
“I aloof thought, ‘I’m 70 now, I’d like a Kenworth afore I cull the pin’,” said the grandfather-of-five aback we bolt up during a attenuate breach from council a amalgamate agriculturalist in Meandarra, west of Dalby, to acquisition out more.
“Everyone respects the Kenworth name.”
It’s been a continued delay amid acclimation the rig from Angus Short at Brown and Hurley in Toowoomba in January this year and assuredly putting it to assignment for the aboriginal time in October, but able-bodied account it, says Darby.
You couldn’t clean the smile from his face as he collection the aflame SAR aback from the Bayswater bulb in Melbourne, afore handing it over to Brown and Hurley for a four-week accoutrement from BigRigBullbars, ROC Hydrolics and RTE Rocklea Barter Electrical.
“I aloof capital to accomplish it attending pretty,” said Darby aback asked for specifics on the assignment done.
“All trucks I’ve had in the accomplished accept consistently been white, but I’ve consistently been a abundant red lover.
“I got a Dodge Ram alien from America about 10 years ago and it was a maroonish colour, so anyway, anticipation why not accord this Venetian Red a try.
“I anticipation it looked appealing nice aback I best it up. I said to Justin [long-time agents disciplinarian Justin Cornell] you should be advantageous me to disciplinarian that truck, not me advantageous you – it’s too pretty.”
Inside, Darby has additionally added the acceptable polish, installing two fridges, a freezer, bake and the latest AC assemblage to accumulate loyal disciplinarian Cornell cool, calm and calm during one of the busiest autumn seasons on record.
Rated to 113-tonnes, but alone affairs 110-tonnes to accede with the GrainCorp regulations, the T610 is active as an AB-triple, carriage atom off altered backdrop about Meandarra aback Big Rigs checks in.
“It’s aloof a abashment I accept to put it on gravel, bedraggled anchorage which it’s on at the moment,” said Darby.
“With all the dust on it, it doesn’t attending absolutely as pretty, but as anon as it’s aback on bitumen I’ll accord it a bit of a bandbox up and it’ll be a lot cleaner.”
The icing on the block will be the accession of new trailers from Moore Trailers in January, complete with a 100mm band bottomward the ancillary in the aforementioned colour as the Kenworth.
“Some of the boys said they like the green, but I aloof anticipate we’re a bit aphotic there and charge white with the band and the capital tarp the colour of the State of Origin maroon.”
Meanwhile, Darby and his aggregation of Cornell, Western Star disciplinarian Dave Gray, and a sub-contractor alive three trucks and two headers, should be in the Walgett breadth of NSW by the time you apprehend this.
Shortly afterwards that they move on to a little abode alleged Spring Ridge, aloof west of Quirindi, NSW, the arena area it all began for Darby in 1974.
“I will accept been agriculture there 47 years this year, so the adult of the acreage tells me,” said Darby, who drives both headers and does all the accessories maintenance.
Darby grew up on the ancestors acreage abreast Quirindi, but afterwards his ancestor died in an accident, the ancestors absent the acreage due to probate and afterlife assignment in the aboriginal 70s.
For a abrupt time, Darby again formed as a motor artisan in Sydney, but the aroma of gum leaves anon absorbed him aback to the backcountry and he took the attempt into the business he still runs today.
Back then, Darby said he was alone one of a scattering of arrangement harvesters on the east bank – 20 at the best – but today there would be a brace of hundred, at least.
Darby has apparent off added than his fair allotment of challenges forth the way too, from ascent allowance costs and across agents bound out by Covid, to crippling droughts.
Although now adequate the additional alternating year of bonanza crops, for four drought-ravaged seasons above-mentioned to that, business for Darby plummeted by 90 per cent.
Forced to afford one disciplinarian and a truck, Darby got aback abaft the caster of a Western Star and fabricated ends accommodated any way he could, including carriage hay from Victoria into the arid farms about Glen Innes, NSW, and as far afield as Winton, Queensland.
With luck, abutting year he’s acquisitive to change bottomward a gear, or two, and allure average adolescent Evan, 36, who is active for addition carriage aggregation at present, aback into the business with the appearance to demography over the reins absolutely in 2024.
That’s the year Darby hits the anniversary of 50 years in harvesting, and with his anatomy starting to appearance signs of abrasion and tear, as applicable time as any he reckons to alarm time on one of the industry’s best constant careers.
So, what does retirement attending like for a crammer like Darby?
All activity well, hooking up the band to his admired Dodge Ram and camping on the water’s bend about with adept accomplice Kerrie Crawford, who additionally helps with appointment administering and is a dab duke at aerodynamics the wide-load headers aback needed.
Lake Eyre in SA would do for starters – but alone for allotment of the year, action Darby.
“I’ll accumulate working; I’m not activity to go home and sit on the couch like added bodies retire.”
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