back to article Reg hacks confront really wide Oz load terror

During our coverage this week of the World Solar Challenge, live from Down Under's Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide, some of you weren't too impressed with our account of meeting a big truck bearing an improbably large mining vehicle – some kind of monster Tonka Toy with wheels the size of a two-storey house. Such loads …


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  1. Glenn Amspaugh

    This is a problem?

    I mean, sure, I've seen big loads on the highways before; double and triple wide mobile homes, windmill blades that are longer than the semi's carrying them, space shuttle fuel tanks (ok, no more of those), Hummer 4XXL edition, etc. All you do is go around them. I mean, all 'merkin roads are 4 lanes in each direction so there's plenty of room for everyone. Unless it's the Space Shuttle tank trying to pass the triple wide. That gets a bit hairy.

    Mine's the coat with really wide pockets.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      It's a problem for those of us living in a country that had roads a very, very long time before someone got lost looking for a shortcut to India.

    2. VoodooForce

      What part of

      Down Under, Darwin to Adelaide, Stuart Highway, "Oz" did you miss or was that a reflexive "my countries highway load is bigger than your countries highway load"?

      Back on topic: the Bruce Highway is quite a shitty road - as a citizen of the Premier state I was shocked to see what a goat track the banana benders had let it become. It's like the Pacific Highway in the early 80's. Meeting some heavy mining equipment on those can be more annoying as it usually means long delays following something that looks like the arm off an up-scaled mega transformer. No chances to overtake crumbling shoulder on "Highway 1"

      1. Dagg

        What part of #2

        Try Victoria, apart from federally funded roads the speed limit drops from 110 to 100 and the quality is crap they appear to have spent all the money on road signs telling you how they enforce the road rules instead of spending it on the roads.

        They appear to think that 3 kmh over the speed limit is speeding while ignoring things like how a crap road will be more dangerous.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You ain't seen nuthin yet!

      Queensland roads are so badly maintained that "Scuba diving in the potholes is prohibited!" signs are quite common along the highways.

      A truck carrying one of these fell into a pothole on the Bruce Highway a few years ago .........

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Bagger 288 was moved to a new site in 2001

    1. Jon 9

      You forgot....

      The most important link when talking about the Bagger 288

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is the whole business in Idaho and Montana about transporting the equipment for Canada's oil sands.... But of course that's them swashbuckling 'mericans.

  4. xj25vm

    So, those pictures. Are they the Oz version of going caravanning for the weekend? I bet there is plenty of room for the bog in there :-)

  5. Cloudscout


    I think we still hold the record here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over 10 years ago they moved a 3000 ton building, the Shubert Theater, through Downtown Minneapolis. The best part was the giant "This End Up" labels they attached to the side of the building.

  6. tim-e

    moving houses...

    We move them through the cities too. It gets fun when they encounter a roundabout though.

  7. PaulVD

    Instead of photographs...

    ... will you settle for Playmobil?

  8. AdamWill

    not that odd

    Such prefab homes are pretty common in much of North America and it's not that unusual to see 'em being schlepped along highways.

    More impressive I find is the video you can watch on a never-ending loop inside the lodge at Grouse Mountain here in Vancouver, which shows the process involved in getting the wind turbine which sits at the peak of the mountain up there. Some bits were flown in but much of it was driven up - an operation that was enough trouble on the highway (done at night with a major police escort) but pretty Herculean on the back roads it takes to actually get the damn things up the side of a modest-sized mountain.

    Unfortunately the video doesn't seem to be online, which is a bit of a shame.

  9. Petrea Mitchell

    Houses? Pfaugh

    You do in fact see those all the time out here in Portland, Oregon area.

    Biggest thing I can think of being moved around on wheels around here would be the Spruce Goose, being transported to its current home at the Evergreen Air & Space Museum (and waterpark and winery... and no, I'm not making that up). I was unable to locate photos, but perhaps these attestations from mainstream media will do: (where the promised photo gallery has unfortunately vanished)

  10. Buzzword

    Those super-low aerodynamic solar cars could quite easily squeeze through underneath those lorries!

  11. Doug Burbidge

    I saw tanks going the other way up the Stuart highway in 2009, on the back of trucks (the military kind of tank, that is). Clearly they had run their batteries flat and were being forced to trailer to the next checkpoint.

  12. Efros

    Not houses but blades

    Had these going by the house for about 4 months now.

  13. JeffUK

    Firstly, they aren't houses, they are sheds.. clearly..

    I once passed a flat-bed trailer carrying John Prescott going the other way on the M6.. that was a tight squeeze.

    1. Jon B


      If you live in Aus or NZ you would know that they are prime real estate - I live in one just like that.

      I too thought they were sheds before I lived there..

  14. sheep++;

    Big wheels !

    Where does the phrase "with wheels the size of a two-storey house." come in? Is it just sarcasm or something, Because you must have a very small two-storey house. They look like typically lorry sized wheels to me.

  15. kain preacher

    In the 80's my grand father moved a few houses in San Francisco.Between the hills and over hide wires it was minor miracle You should get a special badge just for driving a big rig in SF.

  16. Steve Hosgood

    Nothing to do with the French...

    "We've been providing race distances in kilometres, as is the local custom, but since that measurement has a distasteful whiff of the French about it....."

    Oh c'mon guys. Since when do the French have anything to do with the metric system(*)? It's this sort of sillyness that's helped hold Britain back in the 20th century or earlier whilst every other Commonwealth nation switched its roadsigns to kilometres back in the 1970's (as we were supposed to before the government of the day chickened out).

    (*) For the record, the earliest recognisable arguments in favour of a coordinated international measurement system were made by the Royal Society of London in 1688. Ironic then that we in Britain have been so slow to adopt it properly.

    1. I understand now

      SI not IS.

      Systéme Internationale d'unités.

      The accent does it.

    2. A J Stiles

      Not French

      We had to give the French so much help inventing SI, it really should be counted as a British invention. However, in return for letting them think they invented it, we were given the right to claim a French invention as our own. We did not call in that favour until 1959, when we pretended to invent front-wheel-drive cars (which the French had already been building for the best part of 40 years).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ..and which the Germans still don't really seem to have got the hang of...

        See above ^

        1. A J Stiles

          Yes indeed

          From an advertising campaign a few years ago, BMW actually seem to be *proud* of the fact that they power their cars from the wrong end.

          Pull something, and it can only ever come towards you.

          Push something, and it's got a choice of the best part of 180 degrees' worth of directions to go in.

          Case in point: The supermarket trolley.

      2. Colin Millar

        Another one for the list

        Front wheel drive - another crime committed by the french against the automotive industry

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Assuming you're not just a troll...

      ...How about the fact that they keep the international prototype kilogramme in Sèvres, a platinum-iridium cylinder used as the reference standard? Also, the international prototype metre, also kept in France, which was the reference standard until 1960.

  17. Michael Kean

    Monster Moves?

    If you think those are big, point your media centre to "Monster Moves" TV series :) They take entire multi-storey stone and brick buildings for a stroll, among other things.

  18. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    What happens ...

    ... when one of these double wide houses meets a mining vehicle or something of similar size going the other way?

    The simple solution for the Solar Challenge would be to get a couple of military surplus armored trucks (ala Mad Max) to run interference for them.

    No.... You move the house!

    1. Tim Bates

      Serious answer?

      They (or pilot drivers) talk to each other about sizes (insert joke here) and work out where they could pull over. One stops and the other keeps going.

      They're extremely professional drivers in 99% of cases when carrying such loads. Unfortunately some bureaucrat decided that really big loads need to also have a police escort - it seems they send out the coppers that don't have a clue how oversize loads work in 99% of cases... I once got waved off the road AFTER I passed the load. That cop was a real genius...

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Haven't the Australians heard of them?

  20. Mallorn

    I'll see your prefab house...

    ...and raise you a particle physics experiment to measure the neutrino mass:

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Where does the phrase "with wheels the size of a two-storey house." come in?"

    They mentioned encountering mining trucks being shuttled around. Being Oz it was probably one of these:

    1. Roger Varley

      yes, but the guys head standing next to it is clearly level with the wheel hub so the tyre is 2xgezer tall, which is still someway short of a two story building.

  22. Grendel

    What about the Sheep?

    We need to know the distance in that other el-Reg defaco unit of measure... Sheep... if Sheep can be used for height then they can also be used for length (we'll need to know if the sheep are standing or stacked on their side)...

    So, what's the distance from Darwin to Adelaide in Sheep?


    1. Flat Phillip

      Depends on the size of the sheep

      I actually saw the Big Merino being relocated from one end of Golburn to the other. Wikipedia says its 15 metres tall (I'm not sure how tall this is in units of sheep). Luckily they had the sense to run it through Goulburn and not along the highway between Sydney and Canberra.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        For those who are not French, 15 metres == 49.2 feet

  23. Kinetic

    Pah! Call that an Oversize load...

    Although technically they had to construct it's own road first....

  24. The Nameless Mist

    Coober Pedy

    I see Coober Pedy got a mention. A sizeable percentage of the UK population knows about Coober Pedy.

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Here in Adelaide

      which is known for having more murders per capita than any other Western city, Coober Pedy is known as the "pop 'n' drop" place.

      You see, Coober Pedy is riddled with literally thousands of abandoned opal-mining shafts, most of them a mile deep or more. Nobody ever goes down them -they're way too dangerous, unshored, and in imminent danger of collapse. Which makes them the perfect place to "drop" an inconvenient corpse where it will never be found, after you've "popped" a cap in his arse...

  25. ratfox


    The post is required, and must contain letters.

  26. David Ndhlovu

    Fail at myself... not the topic.

    I wish i had a camera phone when Concorde was transported down the A4 after its retirement.

    Now that was a big load :)

  27. DMoy

    We shut down roads for really IMPORTANT over-wide loads.

    Those Aussies shut down roads for piddly little things like houses.

    When we shut down a road here in Canuckistan, it's for something really important: BEER VATS!!!


    1. Michael Price

      More on the Beer Vats

      Here is another link to the info on the Canadian Beer Vat move.

      It took around 11 days to move them 65 miles.

  28. Nigel 11

    Not just in Oz

    I once watched an outsized load - some sort of big pressure vessel - being manouvered through the middle of Saint Albans, here in the home counties of Blighty. It probably wasn't outsized at all by Oz standards, but this is an ancient town centre with listed and very valuable real estate on both sides. Moving awkward buildings out of the way, intentionally or otherwise, was definitely not an option.

    It was preceeded by a flotilla of police vehicles, checking the route, and a parking enforcement vehicle, that lifted anything parked where it shouldn't have been out of the way . The big load crawled along at about walking pace, leaving a trail of devastation. OK, I exaggerate. Its driver really was very skilful, even inch-perfect. It left a couple of depressed kerbstones on one corner, and the gas and water companies were rather busy digging up that road in the weeks thereafter.

    By the way, somewhere in the Midlands is a graveyard of huge steel cylinders. They're failed precision castings for paper-making machines. If the surface has any imperfection, the cast is a reject, but it's so friggin' huge and strong that no-one knows how to chop them up for recycling. So they are towed off as outsized loads, just as if they were perfect, and unloaded ino a field to rust in peace.

  29. jcpw

    Mesozoic traffic

    Oz Brontos must be seriously large: 15 x the length of a bus! But maybe narrow enough to walk down the road, stepping carefully over oncoming traffic. Or not.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The Shubert Theatre

    Here's the link to the Shubert being moved:


    1. skeptical i

      You're sure it's not audition footage from the Crimson Permanent Assurance shorts?

      Très cool, m'kew! :D

  31. Richard Mitchell 1

    Appropriate Measaurement

    Surely some more appropriate units of measure could have been used for this Antipodean tale?

    These aren't precise conversions, I'll leave that to the French of course, but what about:

    (given that 1 thong ~= 0.8 linguine)

    BBQ-ed shrimp: 430,821,434

    Thongs: 35,901,786

    Kangaroos (including tail): 2,991,815

    Ludicrously sized Merino Sheep: 498,635

  32. Keith Ealanta

    Deprecated units...

    I'm sorry to have to correct you, but the brontosaurus is a deprecated unit - it was renamed the apatasaurus some time ago.

  33. Daniel Voyce



  34. Nick Danger

    Good job...

    but it's brontosauri...

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