It began in the 1930s. Her husband’s great grandparents were timber millers and log carters in the central western region of New South Wales.
Their children Richard and Judy — Sally Tipping’s in-laws — eventually branched out on their own and established a trucking operation in 1980.
The family then secured a long-term contract that spanned over 40 years involving, in the main, the delivery of concrete products to many of the new roads being manufactured throughout NSW.
Since joining the company in 1990, Tippings Transport and its dedicated industry have been a key part of Sally’s life.
While the business continued to thrive throughout the decades, the recent events of COVID saw major changes sweep through the business’ operations.
“We’ve had a huge change in our business over the last two years,” she says. “We lost 95 per cent of our work since COVID hit, so we were kind of staring down a barrel of not knowing which direction to go. We had to quickly sell quite a bit of gear off and decide what direction we were going to take, but we’ve found a little niche going from Sydney to Dubbo with freight and also still doing deliveries out in the western area.”
Slowly recovering from the worldwide pandemic, Sally and Grant have been focused on bringing the current incorporated company to all new heights, while guiding it through the third generation of the family.
“We’ve found a really good group within our industry, and we’re very positive for what the future holds,” she says. “One of our sons has just joined us in the workforce and we’re looking forward to our other son joining us in the near future, and that will catapult us into the next generation.”
Sally has made a lot of contributions to the transport industry, and three years ago she decided to do something truly remarkable.
In September 2019, she started a Facebook page dedicated to raising public perception of truck drivers, ‘Wave to a Truckie’.
The page currently has more than 43,000 followers, and it consists of endless positive posts aiming to increase awareness of the trucking industry.
“That all started a few years ago when I could see how people reacted to our industry, and I felt that we really needed to promote our industry,” she says. “I think sometimes we are talking about what’s wrong with the industry, but we don’t talk about what’s right with it and what we’re really good at.”
According to Sally, the industry deserves praise for what it achieves.
“Especially through the COVID situation, I felt that a lot of my drivers weren’t being given the respect that they needed at distribution centres or loading centres, and I think that if we start promoting our industry there will be positive effects on all different levels,” she explains.
“Whether it’s through just road safety, whether it’s getting new people in our industry, and it also helps with communication between regulators as well.”
The reputations of truck drivers as a group have been damaged through misinterpretation by the media according to Sally.
She believes that companies are continuing to blame truck drivers for accidents without knowing the full story, which then sends a subliminal message towards the general public that trucks shouldn’t be on the road.
By creating the ‘Wave to a Truckie’ page, Sally has given the public access to knowing the day-to-day lives of truck drivers.
“It’s really just trying to acknowledge that truck drivers are humans and that they do struggle like everybody else in day-to-day life,” she says. “If you see a truck driver, you don’t really know what they’re dealing with behind the wheel and what they’ve put up with to get to where they are. I think that just trying to acknowledge what drivers do day-to-day goes a long way to respecting them as well. The page is very positive, it’s really just a motivational page and it has been an incredibly rewarding thing.”
In the past truck drivers have been portrayed as these big, burly guys notes Sally.
“But that’s not the case anymore. They’re professional drivers and they need to be treated like professional people as well,” she says.
“I think that goes into recruiting more people into workforce.”
Although the page has only been running for a few years, Sally has received a lot of positive feedback from truck drivers around the country and from followers in our community.
“I’ve had so many great messages and things like that,” she says. “I got a message the other day and someone said, ‘I really needed this today’. That’s all that was said, but you think obviously people are reading things and I think they’re grateful that people understand what they go through daily.”
Earlier this year Orange City and the Cabonne Shire Council in NSW launched the ‘Tired? Power Nap Now’ campaign, which was aimed at educating drivers about early warning signs of fatigue while boosting awareness of power naps and their ability to prevent a tragedy.
Sally is a high supporter of the message and its values, and has taken part by sponsoring it on one of Tippings’ trucks which allowed her to pay it forward to a fellow operator.
“On one of our trucks we are sponsoring the power nap campaign, and I got some feedback on the weekend where a driver said, ‘Oh my God, I needed to see this because it really saved my life,’” she says. “I got that message on Monday morning and I think that sort of stuff is really great in the industry.”
Sally has been recognised for her contributions to the transport industry, by recently receiving the 2022 Road Freight NSW Transport Woman of the Year and 2022 NRFA Terrie Bradley Memorial Award.
By creating a sticker with a local artist to display on Tippings Transport’s fleet, the initiative known as Wave to a Truckie came to exist.
Together with the Facebook page which has now also carried over to Instagram, Sally and Grant continue to change Australia’s and the world’s reputation of truck drivers.