“We’ve got a few million-plus Macks.”

Les Walkden has been working his Macks hard for well over a decade, and they’ve never let him down.

After nearly 40 years in the business, Les Walkden has handled freight forwarding, carted coal, hauled vegetables, oil and fuel and of course his most consistent load: timber. And he’s done most of this work in a Mack.

The timber man

With a timber harvesting and carting operation that spans most of Tasmania and Victoria, Les Walkden Enterprises are an integral part of the economies of both states.

“We carry raw logs, timber and woodchips mostly,” says Les, “but we’ve got a fairly substantial heavy haulage side to the business as well, and Mack’s been a part of it since the beginning.”

Down in Tasmania, the company’s main depot is at Youngtown in Launceston, with another down south near New Norfolk and three satellite depots strategically around the state.

“We’ve got pretty good coverage,” says Les, “and wherever we can we’re running tri-B-doubles at 68 tonnes. We’ll go down to 57-tonners and normal rigs when we have to, but we’ll go with the big ones whenever possible.”

Crossing borders

The fleet of 45 prime movers and over a hundred trailers is complemented by plenty of sub-contractors, especially on the mainland, where the fleet is smaller and opportunities have to be seized.

“We’ve got two Tridents and a Granite up in Victoria,” says Les, “and a whole host of Macks down here in Tasmania. Our experience with the old Super-Liners and Fleet-Liners was good, and we’ve been buying Macks from Websters for probably 30 years.”

Going for gold

With around a dozen Macks of all ages in his fleet, Les is a firm believer in the Gold Bulldog with the all-Mack drive train.

“When I buy a Mack it’s all-Mack,” he says, “it’s a more reliable truck and it’s just easier. If anything goes wrong I know I can go to the Mack dealer and they’ll take care of it. But that’s one thing about Macks, they’re reliable trucks. We’ve got a few that are million-plus trucks and we’ve barely had to touch them.”

In since the beginning

A sustainable logging industry has always been a mainstay of the local economy, and Les Walkden’s Macks are a key component of it. With 100 staff and another Mack Trident on order, Les is confident.

“We’ve taken our opportunities and worked hard,” he says, “and we’ve expanded pretty steadily. Mack’s been a part of that since the very beginning.