Huge honour for Wickham Freight Lines
WHEN the 60,000th Australian-made Kenworth truck rolled off the line in Bayswater, Victoria last week, trucking industry legend Peter Wickham was there to take the keys.
Mr Wickham said it was an immensely proud moment.
"We've had a great relationship with Kenworth from the moment we bought our first truck," he said.
"My brother Angus, was the truck man, and he, like other owner-drivers at the time, would relay information back to the factory on what worked and what didn't and that feedback played a real hand in making the trucks into the well-respected world-wide force they are.
"It's great to see what we started with one truck has grown into something so big - if we hadn't bought Kenworth trucks, I don't think we'd be where we are."
Mr Wickham said the respect shown towards Wickham's was humbling.
"Just being down there at the factory and walking through all the staff in the workshops," he said.
"A lot of them just wanted to come up and talk to you, they're invested in these trucks and feel a part of it - they love them."
Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire was on hand at the event and said it was particularly appropriate that the milestone truck was built for Wickham Freight Lines.
"Peter and Angus Wickham got their start in 1978 when they bought a single Kenworth to transport potatoes from their Killarney property in Queensland," he said.
"Their business now has about 160 late model Kenworth prime movers, refrigerated pantechs, dry vans and tautliners.
"They are accredited under the industry's own safety management system, TruckSafe, which puts them amongst the best and safest companies in the industry."
Mr Wickham said over the years Wickham's had purchased 250 new Kenworths from the Bayswater factory.
"They're the best made truck in the world," he said.
"And they designed for Australian conditions.
"You don't buy them off the line - when you order a Kenworth, there are a lot of boxes to tick - what you want and don't want in your truck.
"They're essentially made to order for you."
Mr Wickham said 99%<TH>per<TH>cent of Wickham's trucks were Kenworths.
"Each driver has their own preference, but most want to drive the Kenworths," he said.
"They are the best trucks and when you have a lot of trucks you don't want them in the workshop, you want them on the road.
"You can fix a Kenworth if anything goes wrong.
"We have 40-year-old Kenworths and they're as good as new.
"Graham Keogh (Wickham Freight Lines director) always says 'it doesn't matter what truck you buy, you'll always pay for a Kenworth in the end'."