Trucking is in the Blood: The Gladmans

By: Steve Skinner


Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy Gladmans TT3 Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy Gladmans TT3
More than half a century driving for the same company: W&J Taylor’s Alan ‘Snow’ Mazzocchi (centre) with his brother Frank beside him, son Brett (fifth from left, obscured), Brett Gladman (second from left) and trucking industry mates from The Rock, near Wagga. Absent from the photo but at this 70th birthday bash were Snow’s wife Anne and daughter Emma. More than half a century driving for the same company: W&J Taylor’s Alan ‘Snow’ Mazzocchi (centre) with his brother Frank beside him, son Brett (fifth from left, obscured), Brett Gladman (second from left) and trucking industry mates from The Rock, near Wagga. Absent from the photo but at this 70th birthday bash were Snow’s wife Anne and daughter Emma. More than half a century driving for the same company: W&J Taylor’s Alan ‘Snow’ Mazzocchi (centre) with his brother Frank beside him, son Brett (fifth from left, obscured), Brett Gladman (second from left) and trucking industry mates from The Rock, near Wagga. Absent from the photo but at this 70th birthday bash were Snow’s wife Anne and daughter Emma.
Trucking family: Chase, Teresa, Brett and Brock Gladman in front of their Kenworth T608 at the Riverina Truck Show. Trucking family: Chase, Teresa, Brett and Brock Gladman in front of their Kenworth T608 at the Riverina Truck Show. Trucking family: Chase, Teresa, Brett and Brock Gladman in front of their Kenworth T608 at the Riverina Truck Show.
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Brett Gladman in his “home away from home” during the week. Brett Gladman in his “home away from home” during the week. Brett Gladman in his “home away from home” during the week.
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Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy Gladmans TT7 Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy Gladmans TT7

The Gladmans from Wagga Wagga in southern NSW were among the many families enjoying the recent Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy. Steve Skinner spoke with the country characters

 

If ever a young kid was destined to be a truckie, it’s got to be seven-year-old Brock Gladman.

In September, Brock and his family — parents Teresa and Brett, and brother Chase — were enjoying the entertainment at the Riverina Truck Show on the shores of Lake Albert at Wagga, a major trucking hub for south-eastern Australia.

Brett ‘Gladdo’ Gladman parked his shiny big blue rig among the 200 trucks on display after the kids’ convoy.

The 43-year-old is an owner-driver and was just about to take his sons away for a week each during the school holidays.

Chase, 11, is a cars man and wants to be a race driver when he grows up.

On trucks he happily refers us to Brock.

"Ask him all the questions," Chase grins, motioning towards his younger brother perched on the fuel tank of Brett’s T608 Kenworth.

With the audio recorder on, Brock turns out to be a man of few words, only saying that he knows "heaps" about trucks.

His parents say he’s not so quiet on the road.

Brock is well known along the Newell Highway between Wagga and Brisbane.

He loves jumping on the CB to ask blokes how they are going, what they’ve got on the back, and where they’re headed for this time.

Brock has been mad about trucks since he was a toddler.

From the first day of kindergarten he was entertaining teachers and kids with tall stories from the highway.

In the early days they were often imaginary adventures with his two-up driving buddy ‘Joe’, involving some colourful language.

Even before he started school, during an interview with the principal Brock declared he’d have to miss the first couple of days because he had to take a load to Brisbane with Joe.

 

Trucking family: Chase, Teresa, Brett and Brock Gladman in front of their Kenworth T608 at the Riverina Truck Show.

 

Third Generation Truckie

"Brock just lives and breathes trucks," Brett says.

"People say I was bad, but when they see him they just think, ‘you’re joking.’"

As Brett’s mum Sandra "Binky" Gladman attests, Brett indeed drove his parents and younger brother Adam mad about trucks from a very young age. That was because his dad Ray was a long-distance driver for many years with W & J Taylor Bulk Haulage and Fertiliser, at nearby The Rock.

Ray, better known as "Skeeter", was a gun cricketer and footballer despite missing most training sessions in his driving days because of being on the road during the week.

After working as a diesel mechanic for over a decade at Royan’s in Wagga, Brett also went driving for Taylor’s for a year.

He then worked for his mate at Simmo’s Express Freight, based at nearby Collingullie, for 10 years doing mostly overnight between Melbourne and Brisbane.

For the past six years Brett has worked for himself and has a permanent run from Brisbane to Wagga, with regular return freight.

Brett recently returned to Taylor’s shed to attend the 70th birthday bash for one of the most loyal truckies in Australia — Alan ‘Snow’ Mazzocchi.

Snow has been driving for Taylor’s for well over 50 years. His third generation boss is Chris ‘Porridge’ Taylor; before that it was Ron ‘Diesel’ Taylor; and originally it was founders Bill and Jean.


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Reliable Old Rigs

About six months ago, Brett upgraded to his "new" 2009 model 608, with a 600 horsepower (441kW) Cummins Signature engine and 18-speed Roadranger.

As a present to himself, he went for the extra comfort of a 50 inch bunk on a six metre wheelbase and an Icepack bunk air conditioner.

Not that there was anything bad with the Kenworth’s predecessor.

The 1988 Ford Louisville had already travelled a couple of million kilometres before Brett drove it up and down the Newell for four years without any problems.

Brett says nothing ever went wrong with the 12 litre, 400hp (294kW) Cummins engine and 13 speed box.

"It never let me down once," Brett declares.

"It was unbelievable."

He was going to use the Louisville as a cubby house for Brock and Chase, and was all set to crane it over the house into the backyard, when a bloke offered to buy it.

The new owner is using it as a tipper and says it’s still going like a train.

Brett’s first truck as an owner-driver just a few years back was a 1980 White Road Commander with a Cummins VT 903 donk.

"Same thing – never let me down once," Brett says.

Mind you, Brett’s trucks have been well looked after. He says the key to his success as an owner driver has been doing all the maintenance work himself as an experienced mechanic.

He shakes his head wondering how other single truck operators can stay in business without performing their own maintenance.

Brett clearly likes the trucking life, and reckons he and Teresa actually get on better because of it.

That sentiment is echoed by Teresa when asked what she thinks of her husband being a long-distance truckie.

"I love it," Teresa responds simply, adding that by the end of the weekend she’s ready for Brett to get out of the house and hit road for the week.

"It makes us closer.

"I hated it when the kids were little, but now that they’re older, it’s easier," she says.

"There are some things you miss out on, but that’s life."

 

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In Brief

Name: Brett ‘Gladdo’ Gladman

Company: Gladman Transport

Truck: 2009 Kenworth T608

Engine: 600hp Cummins

Transmission: 18 speed Roadranger

Regular run: Wagga Wagga to Brisbane

Freight carried: General

 

 

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