Happy days on the road

AFTER more than five decades at the wheel David Lindsay is retiring from the livestock transport game. After growing up on a farm at Deddington before moving to Whitemore, Mr Lindsay started his agricultural career in the shearing shed aged 18.

“I was shearing for a few years and we used to have our own truck,” he said. Mr Lindsay went to work for the Hingston family driving trucks and has not looked back.

“You don’t stay doing something for that long unless you like it,” he said. Mr Lindsay said seeing different places and meeting new people had been among the most enjoyably aspects of the job.

“Going around the country has been one of the best parts,” he said. “You didn’t have to go for that Sunday drive. The Sunday drive was every day of the week.”

During his time in the transport industry, Mr Lindsay has seen a lot of changes. “I started with a 20-foot tray truck, then we went to a semi, then the four decker trucks didn’t come in until 28 years after that,” he said.

Mr Lindsay bought a truck 18 years ago and set up his own business. He has also seen major consolidation in the state’s sale yards. “I counted it up and since I started there have been 14 saleyards close in the North of the state,” he said. “We’re down to one now and one in the North-West.”

As well as sheep and cattle, Mr Lindsay has also moved his fair share of pigs.

“Back when Killafaddy was operational, it would be nothing to see 5000 lambs at a sale on a Tuesday and three or four thousand mutton on a Wednesday then two days of cattle selling,” he said.

Tasmania’s sheep flock has also changed over that time, with fewer Merinos and more crossbred sheep. Mr Lindsay has also enjoyed being able to work with farming families.

“For some I’ve seen three generations come through which has been really nice,” he said. As well as the driving skills to navigate Tasmania’s roads, Mr Lindsay said having good stock sense was also important in carrying valuable livestock.

“You need two brains in this job, one is the truck driver and the other is knowing how to handle stock,” he said. “I was taking a load of 20 steers to Smithton not long ago and it was worth about $70,000.”

While he will not be behind the wheel as much from now on he is not intending to slow down. Mr Lindsay says he has a flock of 2800 sheep to look after, 250 acres and a free-range feedlot.

Mr Lindsay’s achievements have been celebrated by his family, who say they are very proud of what he has done.