Charles Darwin University
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Driver plays key role in delivering education in the bush

By Patrick Nelson

Peter Rose prepares the Caterpillar prime-mover for its next long haul Peter Rose prepares the Caterpillar prime-mover for its next long haul

If Charles Darwin University field officer Peter Rose had a dollar for every corrugated bump he had driven over, he'd be a rich man.

The heavy vehicle truck driver is constantly on the move, taking the university’s mobile adult learning units (MALUs) down some of the Territory’s dustiest roads to some of its most remote communities.

“I’m about to retrieve the Business MALU from Titjikala and take it to Finke near the South Australian border,” he said.

“It’s not that far as the crow flies (120km), but with a truck and trailer I’ll have to bring it back to Alice and then down the Stuart Highway, so we’re looking at more than 500km.

“Then I’m up to Katherine to collect a drop-deck trailer, which needs some modifications in Darwin. Then I’ll be taking the Trades MALU to Peppimenarti where it will be used to deliver a course in Plant Operations.”

Mr Rose, a former Australian Army tank commander, doesn’t keep a tally of how many kilometres he travels in the course of his duties.

“I can say I did 2998km last week. That’s the distance (from Alice) to Darwin and back,” he said.

“I took some gear to the Top End, which was needed for a heavy diesel course.”

Mr Rose said he relished every opportunity to drive the “new” Caterpillar CT630LS prime-mover, which CDU took possession of last year.

“It’s my second office; very comfortable and very safe,” he said.

“It’s the perfect vehicle for towing our mobile classrooms and mobile workshops over long distances across rough terrain.

“It’s important to provide remote Territorians with an opportunity to access vocational education programs and I like to think I have a role to play in that.”