Industry News

Impeccable fleet is a rolling ANZAC tribute

Identical twins Peter and Robert Mills have dedicated their stunning truck fleet to their truckie grandfather, who served in World War II – and to the ANZACs who served before him and made the ultimate sacrifice.

For many, April 25 – or ANZAC Day – serves as a reminder of the Australian and New Zealanders who served and lost their lives at the hands of war.   

At MFT Haulage, its trucks are a constant reminder of what they gave, with the words ‘Lest we forget’ and other quotes emblazoned on each and every one of the prime movers in the 16-strong fleet of Kenworths and Western Stars. 

Half of the fleet also features incredible airbrushed artwork on the back of the cabins, ranging from a tribute to their grandfather to themes of the wild west such as Doc Holliday and The Man from Snowy River. 

A line-up of MFT Haulage trucks at the Casino Truck Show in 2022, which the team now visits every year. Image: Ray Lawrence Photography

MFT Haulage was originally started by identical twins Peter and Robert Mills, now 49, in 2007, alongside their parents Robert and Heather Mills, who are still involved in the business to this day.

As Peter revealed, they established their transport company out of necessity. The two brothers started their cattle agency business Newforce Livestock in 2005 in Hughenden, an outback town in Queensland’s north. MFT Haulage followed in 2007, to service that business, by transporting cattle. 

A family affair [l-r]: Peter, with sister Tina, father Robert Senior, mother Heather and brother Robert. Image: MFT Haulage

From one truck, they quickly grew by expanding and diversifying their services. 

“You’ve got to be diverse,” said Peter. “Our business has grown because we are diverse, we haven’t just stuck with one thing. We’ve done livestock and flat tops from the start, then we ventured into tippers during the drought, because the cattle were all sold so the crates weren’t moving – so we started doing tippers around 2012-2013. Hughenden has just come out of 10 years of drought.”

The twins’ foray into running a transport business wasn’t completely left of field, both brothers had already held their truck licences for decades by that stage.

“We got our licences as soon as we could, and growing up in NSW, we were able to get our road train licences very young. Truck driving has always been in the blood. When I was doing cattle agency work, I’d do a lot of weekend stuff like harvest work and take holidays and go driving. I also drove for West-Trans for a while too,” explained Peter.

Robert Mills with his kids Jett, Jordan and Julz, on delivery day for the Legend SAR, with Man From Snowy River artwork on the back. Image: MFT Haulage

“So, we had always been interested in trucking, and at that stage when we launched MFT Haulage, it was because there was a lack of trucks in the area to transport our livestock.”

Peter revealed that they still have one of their first trucks, a 2006 Western Star 6900, with more than 3 million kilometres on the clock. “It still does the job every single day. We’ve spent a lot of money on that truck to keep it maintained because it’s one of our original ones. It’s painted in our straight maroon now.”

While running two successful businesses is enough to keep anyone on their toes, both Peter and Robert are still behind the wheel full time, travelling anywhere and everywhere. 

Both are in Kenworth C509s. 

Robert’s C509 is a very special truck. The 2021 75th anniversary Brown and Hurley Diamond Edition shows the Mills’ family’s proud history, with a mural of their maternal grandfather Robert John Arnold on the back, who passed away in 1984 at the age of 65. 

The twins’ grandfather ran a fleet of log trucks, including this Leyland Hippo. Right: The photo of their grandfather with the Leyland Hippo that inspired the C509’s artwork. Images: MFT Haulage

“He passed away when I was about eight. He had only just come out of the trucks. He sold at around the right time to get out of it, as there was a lot of parliamentary pressure around logging at the time,” said Peter.

“My grandfather had people who worked with him for decades. He gave them a start and then they stayed with him right up until he retired, which would have been 30 or so years. That was the way it was back in the day, you were loyal to the employer who gave you a start.”

Interestingly, their grandfather bought the very first truck from Brown and Hurley – a 1957 Leyland Hippo, after trading in his White. It was the first truck ever sold by Jack Hurley, who became a close friend of the family, even giving a speech at the wedding of Robert Senior and Heather 54 years ago. And so it was fitting that when Brown and Hurley released their limited edition range to celebrate their milestone anniversary, that MFT Haulage would turn it into such a showstopper. 

Peter and Robert’s mother Heather Mills, with the C509 that pays tribute to her father. Image: MFT Haulage

“That was truck number 23. The airbrushing on the back is of my grandfather with that Leyland Hippo. My grandfather had a fleet of about six logging trucks. That big log in the picture is the one he brought to the Murwillumbah information centre and it’s still there,” Peter explained. 

As with all the trucks’ airbrushing, this work was completed by Jeff Barrie at Cyclone Airbrushing and Graphics.

Jack Hurley’s son, Jim ‘JJ’ Hurley has now replicated that Hippo and it’s on display at the Brown and Hurley museum at Kyogle. 

“When we had the 75th anniversary truck built, we took our whole staff to Kyogle, together with husbands and wives to visit the museum and see Jim’s collection of trucks. There were about 30 of us on that trip,” Peter added. 

The C509 Peter drives is called the ‘Justice Ranger’, with ‘COW TAXI’ as its number plate. The 2023 model features a 60-inch bunk, with artwork based on the movie Tombstone, a 1993 western starring Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, a dentist turned gunfighter involved in an infamous shoot-out in Arizona in the late 1800s.

The C509 Peter drives is called the ‘Justice Ranger’, with artwork based on the movie Tombstone. Image: MFT Haulage

And another C509, called the ‘Lone Ranger’ is equally impressive. It took out Truck of the Show at the 2022 Casino Truck Show, an event which the brothers attend each year. 

There are ANZAC tributes on all of the trucks in the fleet. Image: MFT Haulage

Expanding on the ANZAC theme that’s on the side of all the trucks, a Kenworth Legend SAR features artwork of the last charge of the Australian light horse. When Peter spoke with Big Rigs, Robert was actually behind the wheel of this SAR beauty as his C509 was getting serviced and the driver of this rig has recently retired. 

Adding to the impressive line-up of prime movers is the newest addition to the fleet, a 135 tonne triple road train rated T909 delivered just before Christmas. It’s called ‘Deputy Ranger’ – based on the same Tombstone movie – and it’s being used as an AB-triple, pulling livestock crates and grain tippers. It’s driven by Barry Mills, who is 73. Despite the same surname however, there is no relation. “He grew up with my father though, they knocked around together as youngsters and he’s been with us for four years,” Peter added. 

This T909, called Deputy Ranger, joined the fleet ahead of Christmas. Image: Brown and Hurley

Another T909 is also on its way too. “We have another one sitting at Toowoomba now,  which just turned up from the factory,” Peter said, adding that Robert is in the process of
finalising ideas for its artwork, which will undoubtedly see it become yet another showstopper for their eye-catching fleet.


The post Impeccable fleet is a rolling ANZAC tribute appeared first on Big Rigs.

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend