Owner-Driver Murray ‘Muz’ Cordery is a Cleanaway legend. With 38 years under his belt and counting, we spoke to the man about his life – both in and out of work – and what has kept him going since he first started.
“In 1985, I was working at a fertiliser factory in Strathpine and had a friend working at Cleanaway. On the weekends you could come and work with your mate as a runner, so I learnt some of the runs.”
“Then I got to know some of the operations staff and they put me on for a three month trial. I just wanted to work for Cleanaway. I really liked the shirts and wanted one.”
Murray performed as a Cleanaway driver in different capacities for over 18 years.
“I was a relief driver doing pathology collections. Then I was a floater driver completing quarantine services at the wharf and taking it to the port incinerator at Eagle Farm.”
“After that it was rear lift collections in the city, mostly for hospitals where I had to hand unload 20m cages three times a day in the back of rear lift trucks.”
“Then I completed training in a roll on/roll off (RORO) hook truck and serviced the city area including Expo 88, the Smiths chips factory and major Brisbane construction sites.”
In 2003, Murray became an owner-driver. Today, he’s on his fourth truck and showing no signs of slowing down.
“You know what you’ve got to do. It’s about the satisfaction.”
“When I see young kids watching me pull on a bin, the look on their faces just makes me feel special. It just brings me back to how I got started.”
We asked Murray how things were back then compared to today.
“As the years went by the industry became more and more safety conscious. We don’t wear short sleeve shirts or shorts anymore, now we have PPE.”
“We’ve so much safety to make sure we’re looked after. Back in the day you just got a refidex (street directory).”
Outside of work, Murray likes to keep himself busy with one of his many hobbies.
“I’ve always had motorbikes and been in a bike club for 12 years. I also like old farming stuff, real rusty relics.”
“I’ve been working on my old 1963 Bedford truck. It’s like the first one I learnt to drive in and I’ve always wanted one.”
As we dug deeper into Murray’s personal life, he revealed a couple of surprising facts.
“My great-grandfather is Jackie Howe the man who set the record for the most amount of sheep sheared in one day.”
“People from around Australia and New Zealand enter the Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears competition to win the Jackie Howe trophy.”
“I’ve even starred in a movie called Lieutenant Jangles where I played Mark “Cooper” Read’s father Keith Read.
However it’s his work achievements that he’s most proud of.
“I enjoy working and I want to be remembered as a worker. I hope my three sons Les, Bevan and Daniel keep the same work ethic I have.”
So what advice would Murray give to anyone interested in joining Cleanaway today?
“It’s a big company and there are quite a few employees, but everyone gets along. I’m happy where I am because I like the people I work with.”
“You can always see a Cleanaway truck on the road and it makes you feel like you’re part of the team.”
Branch Manager Justin Savage had this to say about Murray:
“I started working with Murray in 2020 at the Northgate depot where Murray was contracted to service on site hook bins for Moreton Bay Council.”
“He’s an honest and hardworking man, old school with a great working attitude. He leads his team with integrity and strives to make a positive difference.”
“He always shows up and delivers.”
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