The Australian Crane Industry mourns the loss of a Legend – John Gillespie.
John was the Managing Director of Gillespies Crane Services and a Director of Gillespies Cranes Nominees P/L and other companies in the group until 2019.
When John left school and joined the family business in 1969 he “did whatever was needed in the business – cleaning up around the place, dogging, crane driving and whatever else was necessary for the family business to survive.”
Gillespies Cranes was the oldest crane company in Australia at the time of John’s retirement.
He left the industry after over 50 years and served 35 successive years on the CICA Board, joining in 1985. During this time he served as CICA President for 16 years until 2014. John was awarded the Con Popov Memorial Award in 2002 for outstanding industry service. In 2010, John was awarded CICA Life Membership. John’s exceptional, loyal and outstanding service and contribution have provided immeasurable benefit to CICA.
CICA’s progress and growth under John’s leadership was phenomenal; industry representation activities, member benefits, membership numbers, revenue and assets are at record levels. On behalf of CICA, John was a strong advocate for and participant at International World Crane & Transport Alliance Meetings, this helped to create the International Crane Stakeholders Assembly (ICSA). John’s service, industry leadership and passion to improve the crane industry is legendary, earning him much respect within Australia and internationally.
John continued to be an advocate for involvement in the industry association. When asked what advice he would give to a newcomer to the industry he said firstly, “Are you mad? Don’t do it!” then “Seriously though, get involved with the association as it gives you the opportunity to help drive change and improvements. More contributors are always needed and welcomed. The industry can’t continue to rely on a small number of volunteers, or the same few people that always seem to make the time to contribute.”
John’s positive outlook on life was undiminishing. In 2021 he received a replacement pacemaker and wanted to know how long the battery life was. The doctor told him 15 years, for which he said amidst going through chemotherapy, “I have a new goal!!” Sadly, his fighting spirit could not overcome physical illness and John passed away peacefully on 17 August 2021. Our thoughts and condolences are with John’s wife, Helen, sons Tom and Stephen, and daughter Carla, their partners and children.