After more than 50 years in the transport industry, Garry Plant will retire at the end of the month.
As a fitting end to his career, Mr Plant was inducted into the Deniliquin and District Transport Industry Wall of Fame on Friday night.
Mr Plant and his wife Ann lived in the Cobram-Barooga area for 43 years before moving to Deniliquin two years ago.
Mr Plant said his induction came as a complete shock, but he was ‘‘very pleased’’ with the honour.
‘‘I’m one of those people who is happy to be in the shadows helping someone else. It is a great honour, though,’’ he said.
‘‘I was nominated in the first year and then I forgot all about it. When my name was called I almost choked on my beer, but everyone else at the table was just grinning at me — it seems everyone knew but me.
‘‘I was just quietly doing a job, and all of a sudden 50 years ticked over. I will finish up on September 21.’’
Mr Plant’s first job driving a truck was on the family farm at Deniliquin and Uabalong West, where his first truck was a wooden cab Diamond T.
He then progressed to a Bedford cab over before starting interstate driving out of Finley with his brother-in-law.
In that time he drove a Bonneted MAN and a cab over (x McGilvray) Kenworth with an 871 GM.
The following 13 years were spent with Tom Stanyer and Sons in Barooga carting stock throughout NSW, Victoria, South Australia and western Queensland.
In this role he drove Australia’s first international D-Line, a Scania Super 80, and two brand new K Series cab over Kenworths.
After Stanyers, Mr Plant began a 34-year association with the Brooks family, which continues today, and has carted bulk grain up and down the east coast to ports and domestic market consumers.
He began work with Ray Brooks and Company in February 1985. His first truck was a UD CW41, progressing to a UD CW45 and then an International S-Line.
The S-Line served him for millions of kilometres. Mr Plant still claims it was one of the most efficient trucks he drove, but he could not drive it forever.
An International 3600 Series 60 Detroit was next, then a T440 Kenworth with an M11 engine, two Kenworth 604 (Caterpillar C15), a Kenworth 608 (Caterpiller C15) and two Kenworth 609 before he got to his current truck — a Cummins EGR.
In his nomination form, Mr Plant was described as a ‘‘dedicated, dependable and loyal employee’’.
‘‘Gary’s presentation of his trucks and himself is always first-class, ensuring Brooks Logistics is seen in the best light possible to other businesses and the general public,’’ the nomination read.
‘‘His happy and no-fuss attitude and unique ability to get the job done in a safe and professional manner makes him a wonderful role model within the organisation and the transport industry in general.
‘‘He has driven trucks for over 50 years and he is a previous winner of the Berrigan Shire employee of the year.’’
Even after his retirement, Mr Plant plans to still be on the road. He and Ann aim to caravan around Australia visiting family and friends.