Steely kinship

When an offer came for Tyson Carter to follow his dad Trevor into the trucking industry, he jumped at the opportunity. Both now haul scrap metal around south east Queensland. Peter and Di Schlenk write

Steely kinship
MJ Freighters’ Kenworth T909 hauls Tefco Trailers.


Decked out in Sims Metal blue, the MJ Freighter’s Kenworth T909 looked the goods as driver Trevor Carter fuelled it up at the BP Archerfield in Brisbane. The Kenworth is one of eight trucks in the MJ Freighters’ fleet, which includes three B-doubles and five singles, all of which haul scrap metal. It’s also one of three Kenworths; the other five trucks are Western Stars.

The T909 is six years old. Its 600hp Cummins engine has exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) with a diesel particulate filer (DPF).

"I do two return trips a day to Toowoomba with scrap metal, five days a week," Trevor explains.

"At the Brisbane depot it is shredded or compacted and then shipped to China."

Although only 3pm, Trevor was on his way to MJ’s yard in the northern Brisbane suburb of Bracken Ridge to knock off for the day. He enjoys the early start and the early finish even better.

Trevor’s eldest son Tyson was not far behind the Kenworth, driving one of MJ Freighters’ Western Stars.

Trevor has been with the family-run business for the past seven years. In that time Tyson, now aged 20, got to know the owners Ray and Stacey Bredhauer and their son Mat.

Last year Tyson was offered a driving job with the company. Now with his HC licence, it’s something he’s always dreamed of doing.

"It’s been good so far," smiles Tyson. "I’ve been driving since June and it has been a good experience being on my own.

"It helped having spent a lot of time with Dad. I’ve been travelling with him since I was a little kid and now it’s my turn to do it.

"It also helps having the support at home from my mum, sister and partner Andrea.

Tyson’s Western Star 4800 is a 2007 model a C15 set at 550hp under the bonnet.

According to Tyson, MJ Freighters were very happy to give him the opportunity.

"They approached me with the offer that if I got my licence, they would sort out the insurance and I would hit the road as a P-plater," Tyson explains.

"The boss is confident in my ability, which is good."

Tyson adds that he would love to be driving the Kenworth T909 but admits that he has to start somewhere and the Western Star is a good step.

"It’s a foot in the door that I am very thankful for," Tyson says. "All I have to do now is keep up my end of the deal and do the job properly and professionally."

Tyson has already added his own personal touches to the Western Star, adding bigger stacks and a new sun visor.

"The boss paid for the visor and I paid for the stacks and a few other little things," he says. "We both do our bit."

These touches reflect the pride that Tyson has in his truck. Each weekend, both father and son spend time washing their vehicles.

Mildura beginnings

In a similar scenario, Trevor first got into trucking through his uncle, George Carter, when he would sit in the passenger seat during school holidays.

After finishing school, Trevor worked in the yard for Mildura-based Kelly’s and Young Trucking. He went on to drive an International T-Line, hauling general from Adelaide and Melbourne into Mildura.

"I did about 12 months there then Mildura operator Jimmy Underwood gave me a chance running between Adelaide-Brisbane. I was 19 years old and it was a really big adventure.

"I’ve been driving for the last 30 years," he says.

Trevor explains that life on the open road was great but things have changed a great deal since the early days. For starters, working for MJ Freighters driving local means he’s home with the family every night.

Also making life easier for Trevor are the motorways that have opened around Brisbane in recent years. He’s looking forward to the new Toowoomba Range Crossing being finished. It’s due for completion in late 2018.

"It will help me because I will be able to use that in lieu of going through 30 sets of traffic lights in the city to the scrap depot on the west side of Toowoomba. I reckon it might save me half an hour," he adds.

Trevor is grateful that the Bredhauer family gave Tyson a start. It’s a refreshing scenario for an industry that rarely offers young people a foot in the door.

Tyson says many of his mates have asked howhe was able to get behind the wheel at such a young age. There aren’t many P-plates on a semi.

"It does pose a lot of questions when you overtake and they see a P-plate on the back door," Tyson grins.

Just like his father’s truck, Tyson’s rig tares in at 23 tonne empty. To handle the tough conditions of constant loading and unloading of scrap metal, both trucks haul Tefco Trailers.

"The scrap is loaded generally by an excavator or front end loader," Tyson continues. "Large pieces of steel with some very sharp edges may be dropped in the back.

"I’m fortunate in some ways to only pull a single trailer. Dad has to unhook the B-trailer and spin around and tip the A.

"Some of the places I go to are very tight so in return it is good to have a short bonnet."

Currently Tyson is happy on local runs, but says he may consider interstate driving in the future.

"When I get some more experience I may give it a crack," he says. "I did a trip to Bundaberg the other week; it’s good to get out and around a bit."

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