MEMORY LANE: The first six fleet of six in 1985.
MEMORY LANE: The first six fleet of six in 1985. Wickham Freightlines

Wickham's first truckies take amazing trip down memory lane

LIFE is a full-throttle business when you work as a truck driver, but a poignant poke at history has prompted six great mates to put on the breaks and reflect on the incredible lengths they've come.

When the camera flashed back in 1985, not one of these men guessed they would all be standing side-by-side more than three decades later.

But the idea to recreate an old photo from their fledgling days of trucking has seen the six men face up in front of the lens for the second time in history.

"I reckon it's got to be one of the proudest moments of my life," said Wickham Freightlines director Graham Keogh.

They may not seem the sentimental type, but the moment was enough to pull at some heartstrings.

"Just to be standing there with those guys that you've worked with for so long, it's pretty special," Mr Keogh said.

Aside from recently-retired Garth Power, who reappeared especially for the occasion, all the men are still working together decades on.

THE ORIGINAL: First team of Wickham truck drivers Garry Aitken, Wayne Ross, Thomas Stonehouse, Merv Ross, Garth Power and Graham Keogh in 1985.
THE ORIGINAL: First team of Wickham truck drivers Garry Aitken, Wayne Ross, Thomas Stonehouse, Merv Ross, Garth Power and Graham Keogh in 1985. Wickham Freightlines

But Mr Keogh certainly isn't one to toot his own horn, he couldn't help but feel a little proud.

"When you're standing there in 1985 with five blokes beside you you don't think you're going to have what you've got today."

From a small convoy of six to a massive fleet of 150 Kenworth trucks and around 320 staff, they've certainly come a long way.

But the fact that these six men have stuck it out through thick and thin is testament to the strong family values of the Wickham company.

"It's the people you work with that make the job," Mr Keogh said.

From novice driver to company director, there are few who have been in the industry as long as Mr Keogh.

"From growing up in a housing commission house in Killarney to feeding hundreds of families a week... it has been a great journey I wouldn't have swapped it for anything," he said.

"But I didn't do it alone," he added.

From the second he was old enough to drive, Mr Keogh stepped up to the steering wheel and under the wing of Angus Wickham, would would become a lifelong mentor and friend.

Along with Garry Aitken, Wayne Ross, Thomas Stonehouse, Merv Ross and Garth Power the six men made up the original crew of truckies that literally drove the Wickhams businesses to become the successful family enterprise it is today.

Each day, the Wickham group feeds over 400 families a day and travels more than twice the circumference of the earth each day.

Now with decades of experience under their belts, the older drivers are enjoying passing on their passion for the industry to a new generation.

"Many of us have our children or grandchildren working with us now, Mr Keogh said.

"The industry has been good to all of us."

DECADES ON: The same six 33 years later. Garry Aitken, Wayne Ross, Thomas Stonehouse, Merv Ross, Garth Power and Graham Keogh.
DECADES ON: The same six 33 years later. Garry Aitken, Wayne Ross, Thomas Stonehouse, Merv Ross, Garth Power and Graham Keogh. Wickham Freightlines


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