The reality TV genre is known for being the perfect platform for eccentric, prone-to-drama people to become extremely famous, and sometimes, even rich. Nonetheless, the term reality is really extensive. and it has a place for almost everyone, including folks with common jobs and backgrounds.
While the factual series “Outback Truckers” have let us see what’s really happening on the road for Australian real-life truckers, their show has also left us with a bittersweet taste every time a tragedy occurs to its cast members, such as the case of beloved trucker Noelene Turner, who unfortunately passed away back in 2014.
So what happened to her? When did she die? Who among other cast members have passed away as well? Stay with us to know all!
What Happened To Noelene?
It goes without saying that the news of Noelene Turner’s passing was shocking to say the least. She had been a recurring personality in “Outback Truckers” in the first two seasons, but the only thing viewers knew about her passing was a condolence note in the show.
Although Noelene unfortunately died in 2014, there’s still no certainty about the reasons she passed away, leading the audience without any type of closure, and so to speculate what happened to her. As fans keep asking for explanations on the show’s social media, one specific Facebook post promoting the filming of the fourth season in 2015 had some viewers commenting about Noelene’s death, indicating she had died ‘of a short illness’, while other commentators suggested that she might have been suffering from a smoking-related condition.
June 06: Tamara Turner (39) died of her injuries after being found outside Mildura Hospital. Steven Samaros aka Steven…
Posted by Daily Life on Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Even if these comments can’t be taken as factual, there’s also no reason to dismiss them as impossible. What’s for sure is that Noelene’s online obituary states she had died at 51 years of age, left behind three kids, and had been married to Bevyn Turner since 1992 to the time of her death, though it’s for sure the man wasn’t her trucking partner Bluezy.
Regardless of the unfortunate situations which led to her passing, her death remains as one of the saddest in the show.
Who Else Involved in The Show Has Died?
Besides the passing of Noelene Turner, “Outback Truckers” has also been hit with the loss of other memorable personalities.
If you loyally watched “Outback Truckers”, you might remember Sonya and her husband Greg from Perth, who appeared in the show in the third season. Sonya and Greg’s good trucking dynamic on-screen wasn’t surprising, as by the time they filmed the show they had been married for over 20 years, and had always been involved in the industry.
The couple’s commitment to trucking had taken them to live in a variety of cities in Australia, settling in Perth prior to filming the show, but apparently relocated again to Palmyra, Melville City a couple of years later. It was there when tragedy hit the family, resulting in Sonya’s unfortunate death in July 2017. While the reasons for her passing weren’t revealed, it’s unfortunate enough to know she left behind her husband and six children.
Introducing 2 up husband and wife team, Greg & Sonya Wise! Tune in tonight for Episode 9 of Outback Truckers Season 3, 8:30pm 7mate.#OutbackTruckers #Truckdriving #truckie #trucker #automotive #competition #driver #drive #skills #season #episode #comingup #reality #Australia #Outback
Posted by Outback Truckers – Official on Monday, July 13, 2015
The death of Dougal Brett is probably the most tragic for an “Outback Truckers” personality. Although his main occupation was as a cattleman, transporting his farm’s products was a big part of his task, something seen during his brief appearances in “Outback Truckers” first season.
However, in June 2015 tragedy hit the family of this hardworking man, as the helicopter he was piloting crashed as he fixed his family’s farm fences near Timber Creek. According to witnesses, Dougal’s R-44 helicopter simply ‘fell out of the sky’ and though he was quickly taken to emergency, he died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the accident. At the time of his death, Dougal was only 40 years old, leaving behind, his wife Emily, three boys and his parents: ‘Those three kids are missing a father now. They’re going to miss him terribly. It’s every parents’ and grandparents’ nightmare when something like this happens’, his father Colin Brett told NT News at the time.
While there were several theories regarding the cause of Dougal’s crash, the investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found out that the helicopter’s engine lost power due to the presence of contaminants in the fuel system, leading to the crash, as Dougal was unable to ‘reduce the rate of the descent.
Where Is The Rest Of The Cast?
It’s not a secret that dozens of people have appeared in “Outback Truckers” since its premiere in 2012. However, despite the vast number of personalities introduced in the show, some have acquired greater fame than others.
One of the newest but definitely memorable additions to “Outback Truckers” is Boe Vella, a young driver who debuted in the series ninth season. His face wasn’t familiar in the least tor the audience, but while he’s lacking the decades of experience some of his co-stars have under their belt, the 25-years old Boe surely impressed us all in only three episodes.
Born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia, Boe has never been afraid of getting dirty while doing the job. It’s that work ethic and commitment to helping out other people that resulted in his current success. According to Big Rigs, Boe works for a private contractor, while building up his small transportation company, which brings supplies and heavy materials to remote communities: ‘I love going remote. The creek crossings, there’s always a lot of challenges, you don’t know what’s around the corner. And it’s good-looking country-side too’, he told the website in 2022.
Of course, Boe’s love for trucking doesn’t come out of nowhere. The first time he was behind a truck’s wheel was when 10 years old, his father teaching him how to drive: ‘Dad had trucks since I was a baby, so I’ve always been around them. I like the big trucks, the sound of them, the life of the bush’.
While it’s uncertain if Boe will reappear in “Outback Truckers” anytime soon, it’s for sure that he has a bright future ahead.
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Michael ‘Kingy’ King
Needless to say, Michael King, also known as ‘Kingy’ or Mick, is exactly who we would expect to find in the trucking business. Mick impressed “Outback Truckers” back when he appeared in the fifth and sixth seasons, and though it’s been a while since we last saw him on the small screen, his white bushy beard and strong personality makes him unforgettable.
If you were one of those who loved seeing Mick in the show years ago, you might be happy to know that he’s still pretty much active behind the wheel nowadays, though not without issues. As he affirmed in an interview with Big Rigs in 2021, business has slowed down due to the lack of drivers averse to risk, which is mandatory in his job field: ‘People go to a driving school and get trained by trainers who aren’t driving a truck in the real world. It’s ludicrous’, he affirmed, also explaining that regulations which limited the presence of teens in outback trucking environments were the cause of that blank space in his profession.
On the bright side, age isn’t really an issue for Mick’s performance behind the wheel, and he not only successfully completes his routes on a daily basis, but also owns his transportation company, Faststar Holdings.
Paul ‘Sludge’ Andrews
Anyone who’s familiar with “Outback Truckers” knows who Paul Andrews is. Also known as Sludge, his TV debut in the third season caught the audiences’ attention for good, securing him a spot in the show for the following seasons.
Although nowadays Paul, , doesn’t appear as regularly in the show, the fame he acquired through TV makes him prominent enough to be often interviewed by specialized trucking sites in Australia. To prove this, the website Big Rigs interviewed him in mid-2022, and surprisingly revealed that he’s exploring a new facet of his career by centering his work near his family in Perth: ‘I don’t want to be away all the time, but every now and then, I still like to head away’, he affirmed.
It’s not only homesickness that led to this decision though, as the fuel price rise among other problems changed his current work routine, similar to that of his former co-star Michael King, Paul finds troublesome the lack of well-trained danger-ready drivers in the trucking industry. However, Paul also confessed that the death of his best friend Mark also changed his perception about the business, resulting in the downsize of his trucking company: ‘It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, when your time’s up, it’s up’.
Even if these confessions might lead people to think that he might be retiring soon, the truth is that he’s as active as ever when it comes to trucking.
Compared to their male counterparts, there are evidently fewer women in “Outback Truckers”. However, they don’t let that deter them, and surely stand for themselves in the show, as is the case of Danyelle Haigh.
While on-screen you might see Danyelle at the wheel most of the time, behind the scenes she spends her time building a loyal following online, and taking care of her family. That being said, Danyelle’s talent as an entrepreneur is not to be ignored, as in late 2021, she confirmed to the Daily Mail the purchase of a $7 million property in the Northern Territory.
Posted by Danyelle Haigh 'Giddy Up' on Thursday, June 9, 2022
Even if buying such a huge and expensive property isn’t affordable for most truckers out there, the fact that Danyelle’s family owns the big Murranji Water Drilling company, then it becomes obvious she’s really not relying solely on her trucking salary. According to sources, Danyelle moved from Queensland with her husband and kids, to focus on their new life.
Regarding her intentions in buying said land, the property apparently has an active water drilling license which could help her family’s business. As well, Danyelle told ABC Rural about the land’s ‘potential’, revealing her intentions of also using it to build a caravan park. However, whether those projects have come alive is unknown.
Glenn ‘Yogi’ Kendall
Back when he debuted in “Outback Truckers” second season, it was evident that Glenn Kendall was made for the job. However, Yogi believes he owes his fame to more than just his charisma and skill behind the wheel, as his message in the show has resonated with people: ‘All of a sudden I had a platform to get our name out there and use the opportunity to have a voice and advocate for the transport industry’, he told nti.com.
Coming from a family of truckers, Yogi takes his role in the trucking industry seriously, and is deeply passionate about Kendall Trucking, managed by his wife Amanda. Yogi also enjoys the thrill of going on the road with no technology, just guiding his way by memory alone, although as the audience will know, there are few roads suitable for trucking in the Australian outback, ‘the bush’.
Given how tradition-oriented he is, Yogi is currently advocating for improving the industry, while not losing what makes trucking what it is: ‘We need to get back to the romance of looking through the windscreen, experiencing the joys of what we do, rather than focusing on the over-regulation that exists’, Yogi told Deals On Wheels in 2020, when he also pointed out that improving the driving education, and security measures is necessary.
Besides trucking, Yogi’s main focus is his family, whose members are fortunately greatly supportive of him.
Not only is Steve Grahame well known by “Outback Truckers” fans, but his name is also quite popular in the general Australian trucking industry. With over 50 years on the road, Steve’s charisma and endless knowledge makes his huge fame unquestionable.
Unlike most of his co-stars, Steve doesn’t come from a trucking family. He instead joined the business after having worked as a shed hand and in mining, finding his experience behind the wheel more compelling. At 22 years old he became a full-time trucker after marrying, nothing stopping him from then on.
Despite being on the road for so long, Steve has no plans on retiring anytime yet, and fortunately also enjoys being regularly featured in “Outback Truckers”: ‘(the series) showcases Australian truckers, and it also showcases Australia and the outback to the world in a fantastic way’, he told Deals On Wheels in 2022. The producers and audience appreciate him as well, giving him the honor of receiving the 2021 award for TV Blackbox Most Factual Programme won by the show.
All in all, while some on-road stories have had unfortunate ends, such as the case of Noelene Turner, what makes “Outback Truckers” a compelling show is the variety of people, their journeys and way of life.