Industry News

Record numbers for Crawlin’ the Hume vintage truck run

Before dawn they gathered, filling the car park of the old Ford factory at Campbellfield on the northern edge of Melbourne, and the starting point of Crawlin’ the Hume.

This, the sixth run attracted 300 registrations and from all over they came, the Victorian ‘locals’ being joined by trucks from around the country.

Of course, as is the want with these events, the radar showed swathes of rain sweeping across the state, but these blokes come from hardy stock.

Vin O’Neil has a 1959 Austin tray truck which he drove down from Sandy Creek, near Albury – just to drive back up there again.

Brian Smith has done every run from inception. Owning a model T Ford tray truck, named ‘Apples’, Brian is usually the first to leave Melbourne and the last to arrive at Albury. When asked about the impending bad weather, Brian smiles and says: “I’ll take it as it comes.”

Donny McGregor from Sunbury is on the road with his Louis and intends getting there and back on this day – we hope he did.

While 300 trucks turn up for the event and their drivers have a great day, it would be remiss to not mention the work behind the scenes that goes into making it happen. Chief cook and bottle washer, Rob French is aided and abetted by a number of folk who go above and beyond.

You would think that parking up before the event would be easy. Scott ‘Huffy’ Huff had to have the use of the car park agreed to by no less than Ford of America. “It only cost us $1 to lease it from 5-11am, but you should have seen the legal contract we had to sign. I went through a bit of mental torment, I can tell you!”

Peter Rowlands spent a day and a half putting signage out on the highway for attendees to follow. Jeff Johnston organised the trophies and Jenny (no last name unfortunately) held the fabric together.

With blow-ins it was expected that close to 400 trucks would make the run this day. It is believed that this would be a world record for a vintage truck run.

Jeff and Kris Poulton and their Inter taking a breather at Winton. Image: Graham Harsant

Ask anyone why they’ve attended and the responses are all similar:  “Keeping the history alive. The camaraderie. Remembering the old days and long forgotten towns. How bad the old Hume was.”

The breadth of trucks is also astounding, from rusty (but hopefully reliable) old bangers to museum pieces. From Brian’s T-model to pristine Kenworths, Macks and any other brand you can think of.

Whatever is being driven, there’s no hierarchy on this day; it’s all for one and one for all. If someone breaks down – and they do – there will be plenty pulling up to help. Can’t get it going? Someone will have space on a trailer to load it aboard.

This drive by necessity takes in part of the new Hume Highway but wherever possible the drive reverts to the old road, passing through those towns that used to cater to the thousands of trucks that passed their doors each night.

Some towns have reinvented themselves from relying on ‘truckie trade’ but there are others that have faded into the annals of highway history. This is brought home when passing some of the now derelict road houses that thrived in days gone by.

These towns have not forgotten the trucks though, and people poured out of their homes, set up marquees, sat atop utes, brought out tables, chairs and more than one lounge suite to enjoy the passing parade. Some were young and loud. Others were old and you could almost see their eyes moisten as the parade rolled by.

Drivers pulled up in groups of two or three – or a dozen or more whenever the fancy took them, and talked over a coffee about this trip and no doubt about the camaraderie of the old days being recreated by Crawlin’ the Hume.

At Winton raceway they gathered for a lunch break and thousands of locals came to see this rolling history. Then onwards through Glenrowan, Wangaratta, Chiltern, Barnawartha and on to Albury where most would stay for dinner and a well-deserved beer at the Albury Racetrack.

Bruce Gunter and George Gould’s old Diamond T, Hey Jude.

Here I run into Bruce Gunter of Haulin’ the Hume and Copy Southbound fame (or is it notoriety). Bruce has driven his circa 1958 630 Diamond T to the run.

George Gould from Bribie Island restored the truck and upon his passing, Bruce managed to obtain it. George used to drive for one Alan Hancock who died in a head on accident at Avenel in an identical truck. Alan carted for Unilever out of Sydney and had been a great friend of Bruce’s parents. Bruce has returned the truck to Alan’s colours, including the Sydney – Melbourne on the bumper and Lux and Rinso soap powder logos on the doors. Every truck tells a story.

Yes, the rain did come in spurts throughout the day, but not in the torrents expected and even Brian Smith arrived reasonably dry.  It would take a tsunami to stop this lot from Crawlin the Hume, and even then I reckon they’d give it a go.

From considering retirement from the event a couple of years ago, Rob French and his band of dedicated helpers are already planning 2026.

If you can’t wait that long, sister event Haulin’ the Hume from Sydney to Yass will be on next April.

For more pictures and coverage from this year’s event, make sure you pick up your free copy of the April 26 issue of Big Rigs from the usual outlet.


The post Record numbers for Crawlin’ the Hume vintage truck run appeared first on Big Rigs.

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