Born at The Risk near Kyogle in 1942, Jim Hurley commenced his working life in 1958 as an apprentice motor mechanic under the watchful eye of Alan Brown, who along with Jim’s father Jack, founded Brown and Hurley in 1946.
“Alan taught me great work ethics and that only perfect was good enough,” Jim says.
“To this day, if I see a bolt in a chassis with the thread facing outwards, or a bracket with the corners not smoothly rounded off, I smile and think to myself, ‘the person who worked on this didn’t do his apprenticeship under Alan Brown’.”
Jim worked diligently during his apprenticeship and not only learned well the skills of a motor mechanic, but also turned his hand to improving the design and function of semi-trailers, which in those days were just 32’ (9.75m) long.
Effectively this could be considered a forerunner to Performance-Based Standards (PBS), decades before the system was formalised.
He recalls a modification he made to 32’ stock crates to incorporate a rounded nose so they had capacity for several more beasts without needing to increase the swing clearance.
“Even back in those days operators were chasing increased trailer lengths,” Jim says. “During my lifetime so far I’ve seen trailer lengths increase from 32-to-34 feet, then 36, 40, 45 and 48 feet.
“Then in the late ‘80s the first 23-metre B-doubles arrived, which were subsequently increased to 25- and later 26-metre, and so the length creep continues.”
In 1963, after completing his apprenticeship, Jim moved to the Brisbane branch to appraise vehicles and arrange repairs on used trucks. He moved back to Kyogle in 1965 and took up a position in sales.
From 1986 Jim assumed the role of Dealer Principal and Group Manager of Sales at Kyogle, a position he held for the following three decades.
In addition, he was Managing Director of the company from 1990 to 2012.
Today Jim’s official title is Roving Ambassador, which after all those years of hard work is a fitting way for him to continue working for his family company within the industry he loves.
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers. Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.