July 5 marks the inaugural National Female Truckies Day, celebrated on the birthdate of Australian trucking icon Toots Holzheimer.
And the first awards that specifically celebrate and showcase the work of Australian female heavy vehicle drivers – the Toots Awards – were launched to coincide with this.
An initiative of Women in Trucking Australia (WiTA), female heavy vehicle drivers were invited to submit photos of themselves with their trucks, including their class of licence to be in the running. Pics were posted the WiTA Facebook page with the winner determined by popular vote.
And it garnered a huge response.
Queensland based MC driver Chloe Anderson was named the winner of the winner of the inaugural Women in Trucking Australia 2023 Toots People’s Choice Award.
WiTA says it’s delighted to see such a highly respected, dedicated young driver win the award.
Anderson works for Dunstan Low Loader Haulage based in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Recognised for her dedication to learning the job and having a go, Anderson says she’s been incredibly fortunate to have “next-level mentors and support from management and her workmates at Dunstan’s”.
She started her trucking journey five years ago, initially driving rigids for music tours and concerts.
Eager to progress her career, she put herself through the necessary training to progress through the licence levels as soon as she was able.
From rigids, Anderson moved to container work, out of the Port of Brisbane, before moving onto truck and dogs at EPH.
“I’ve also enjoyed my time doing a bit of grain harvest work, semi water tanker work out at Emerald, as well as driving a really nice grey semi tipper-set back in Brisbane,” Anderson said.
When she was first given the opportunity to try her hand at heavy haulage, Anderson jumped at the chance; also getting her pilot/escort clearance, so that she could not only haul heavy and wide loads, but escort them as well.
“Since being at Dunstans, I’ve moved 32/36T excavators, b45 dump trucks, 65T drill rigs, crushing screens, as well as an interesting array of heavy machinery,” explained Anderson.
In announcing her as the winner of the award, WiTA said, “Life’s full of adventures and opportunities and it’s wonderful to see this inspirational young woman out there having a go – pushing her own personal boundaries and handling her trucking journey like a boss!”
Toots’ daughter Donna Vawdrey, who is the author of ‘Toots. Woman in a Man’s World’, also thanked WiTA for naming the award in her mother’s honour.
“Thank you Lyndal for this opportunity on behalf of Toots’ family to be involved in the personal lives of so many wonderful female truck drivers,” said Vawdrey.
“Knowing Toots has inspired so many women over the years to pursue their passion to drive trucks and not be stymied by societal norms and expectations around gender, age, height or any other supposed limiting factor – is amazing!”
Vawdrey added that Anderson epitomises so much of what Toots admired – in particular a “nothing-is-impossible” attitude.
She added, “Chloe – you’re an outstanding choice for WiTA’s 2023 Toots Award and happy National Female Truckie’s Day to female drivers the length and breadth of this great country!”