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Popular roadhouse serves as a home away from home for truckies

A sign that reads “Only truck drivers permitted” welcomes truckies as they enter this dedicated space, designed to serve as a home away from home, at a popular roadhouse.

Located in Victoria’s west, the Mortlake Roadhouse is a regular stop for hundreds of truckies each week.

Just look for the bright green door, to head into the truck driver facilities, which includes seating, a television, and a clean toilet and shower.

As roadhouse owner Dion Symons explained, the roadhouse has been in his family for about 35 years. “We were farmers forever and then one day, Dad came home and told Mum he’d bought the roadhouse. It was very unexpected,” said Dion, who took over the business around 15 years ago.

The roadhouse is located in Victoria’s west. Image: Mortlake Roadhouse

As he explained, “For ages, truckies were just out there in the restaurant with everyone. There was a vet that had been leasing that space out, then about seven or eight years ago, once they were gone, we knocked out a wall and decided to turn it into a truckies’ space.

“It was created specifically for truckies and that’s how it always will be, for as long as I’m here. And I think truckies like having their own space – I’ve always found that to be the case.”

The space was named ‘Don’s Den’ after a late livestock truckie named Don McKibbin who drove for Mckibbins Livestock. “He was someone who always came in every day, but he was retired by the time we finished it,” added Dion.

“A lot of roadhouses now are just Maccas, Hungry Jack’s and Subway – and they’re great as well because at least truck drivers can still get something to eat, but what I hear from truck drivers is that they miss that feeling of being at home. So that’s what we’ve tried to create.

“You hear about how truck drivers have lost that comradery and will sit at separate ends of the table and don’t talk to each other, but in our truckie’s room, it’s the opposite and that’s just what it used to be like in the old days.

“There is a TV in there, but you can only see it from one table, so if you want to watch tellie you can sit at that table or on the couch, but if you sit anywhere else, you can talk to the other truckies – and that’s my favourite thing about that space. They can shut the door and you can still hear them roaring and laughing and having a good time.”

Mortlake Roadhouse also serves up a great feed. Think steaks, bangers and mash, parmas, lamb shanks and more – with all meat sourced locally from the nearby butcher.

And if there was ever any doubt that the truckies’ area is designed for truckies, just look at the walls, which are covered from floor to ceiling in truck photos, all taken by Dion himself.

The space is covered in photos taken by Dion. Image: Mortlake Roadhouse

“They’ve just always been a thing,” he said. “All of the photos are shots I’ve taken when trucks pull up. I always ask before taking them. I have a printer out the back, so I print them out and whack them on the wall. As I take one down, I put them in a folder and replace it with the newer ones.”

Looking ahead, Dion says he’s also hoping to install additional truckie toilets and showers in the near future.


The post Popular roadhouse serves as a home away from home for truckies appeared first on Big Rigs.

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