I first heard about this upcoming title some months ago whilst flicking through the free newspaper ‘Big Rigs’ when I stopped at a roadhouse on a regular drive to Victoria. I was pretty excited when it finally arrived on my desk at the Library last week. As a fan of anything automotive, it was great to see an excellent book that focuses on an industry that is under-represented in library collections. An industry that everyone in Australia relies on, yet generally knows so little about.
The author is professional photographer and entrepreneur Alice Mabin. Alice is no stranger to rural Australia having grown up on the land, and photographing Aussie rural life, much of which appears in her first book, The Drover.
The Driver – Australia and New Zealand on the back of a truck is literally a massive book, and it needs to be to even scratch the surface of an industry of the scale seen in Australia and New Zealand. It features 110 trucking families and businesses, of all sizes, truck makes and cargoes, providing very colourful and varied stories. It’s not just the trucks though, each spread also has the real-life experiences of those who drive the trucks, and superbly captures their passions and drives.
There’s 700 photographs, and Alice’s skill with the camera is clearly evident. Some were planned shots and stories, others occurred by chance as she travelled the country snapping the photo and then chatting with the driver.
Trucking life is certainly a culture unto itself and has suffered and triumphed through many changes and challenges since the pre-war period when trucks became a standard feature on and off of our roads. There is a timeline in the front of the book that highlights many of these important events.
Alice herself was struck by a truck whilst driving on the Sunshine Coast some years back and she accounts this incident as the trigger to understanding trucking life. Both of Alice’s books are available to borrow from SA Libraries and you can learn more about Alice on her website.