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From a half to a whole lot

Gregg Melrose on the rise of Melrose Cranes, and some major works the company has undertaken that have made a lasting improvement to the country’s infrastructure.

Gregg Melrose on the rise of Melrose Cranes, and some major works the company has undertaken that have made a lasting improvement to the country’s infrastructure.

Gregg Melrose managed various family-owned businesses for Sydney companies from 1987 to 1998 inclusive (Glenrelle Cranes, Mobile Crane Company, Wilson Mobile Cranes).by June 1998, Wilsons was the third largest mobile crane company. The owners sold to Brambles, a listed company. All staff were offered employment at Brambles on a continuing basis but Gregg decided to go it alone and built his own crane company.

Melrose Industries Pty Ltd was formed and purchased a 50 per cent share in a 50-tonne Kato mobile crane with Mark Muir of Melmar Cranes. Gregg then convinced two companies – Davis Cranes and Wheeler Cranes – to amalgamate and become Wheeler Hydraulic Cranes Pty Ltd. Gregg provided them with consulting services as General Manager; and the 50-tonne Kato became a subcontract crane to the new company.

In 2000, the then owners actioned their plan to retire. Gregg’s brother and accountant, Tony, was introduced and the underlying shares in Wheeler Hydraulic Cranes Pty Ltd were purchased by the Melrose brothers, with each holding 50 per cent.

Soon afterwards, the company name changed to Melrose Cranes & Rigging Pty Ltd (MCR) and the business moved to 2550 square metres premises at 16 Foundry Road, Seven Hills. This gave the company room for growth. Various smaller crane operators were contracted to become “internal subcontractors” to MCR to speed growth of the fleet and pitch the company into larger works.

The fleet grew steadily until, in 2003, an adjoining site leased for a much-needed expansion, giving the company 5100 square metres in the heart of the Seven Hills industrial precinct, with access to major roads and freeways in all directions.

By 2007, the shareholders made a bold move in acquiring a 450-tonne Grove AT crane and pursuing larger contract work, including windfarms, to keep it busy. This was the largest road registered crane in Eastern Australia, and positioned the company for rapid growth. Additional (5000 square metres) premises were leased at Mulgrave Road to house the crane, support vehicles and related crane equipment.

The projected growth occurred, but in 2009 the crane was destroyed by fire and the company lost its standing as a preferred supplier as well as contracts that included building windfarms. The following two years were financially difficult but the business not only survived but slowly rebuilt, to the extent that by 2014 a further yard (4500 square metres at 57 Station Road) was leased to absorb the overload.

With the current infrastructure boom in NSW, growth was unprecedented and caused operational pressures and dislocation. In 2016, a decision was made to find an alternative yard large enough to house the whole operation and deliver major efficiency gains, cost reductions, improved staff morale and a corporate headquarters befitting the status of the company.

The 20,000 square metre premises at 129 Station Road, Seven Hills delivers all that and has been specifically tailored and rebuilt to house the company and its growing needs. As Gregg said: “The growth continues!”

Project 1 – Barangaroo

MCR took delivery of the first 127-tonne Link-Belt TCC-1400 tele boom crawler crane in the country earlier this year. GM – Projects Mick Melrose outlined its role on infrastructure projects and building projects at Barangaroo.

“Upon delivery, the TCC1400 is proving a very popular machine with our crews and the Sydney Tier 1 construction sector.

“Westconnex M5, Bexley hired the crane immediately to assist in feeding the structural elements within the shaft.

“The TCC 1400 was perfect for the site due to the limited set up area and site constraints on delivery vehicle access and egress.

“Upon completion, the crane then went to Lendlease at One Sydney Harbour Project, Barangaroo.

“The crane again was a great fit for the site due to its compact size, mobility and excellent lift capacity.

“The crane then moved into the Lendlease Crown Resort Project at Barangaroo.

“Due to its quick mobilisation time, the crane is working from multiple lift areas to assist the site in the North Western Deck structure and constructing the jump form.

“This in turn is allowing the tower cranes to operate on critical path areas on the site.”

Summing up, he said: “The crane is proving to be an excellent addition to our fleet for both short- and long-term hire.”

Project 2 – Sydney Metro Northwest Rail Link

MCR is heavily involved in the construction of the 36-kilometre Sydney Metro Northwest Rail Link from Cudgegong Road at Rouse Hill to Chatswood.

Gregg Melrose said: “We provide a variety of cranes for all sections along the entire corridor, covering above ground, on ground, rail station and tunnel work. Our 450-tonne GMK7450 crane performed maintenance and support on the ISJV’s Segment Lifting Unit that constructed most of the 12-kilometre elevated rail line.” (pictured right)

Gregg outlined another area where MCR is supporting this project.

“The 400-tonne Grove GMK6400 crane is shown set up on four custom-engineered 6 metre x 3 metre steel mats for the JHCPB JV,” he said. “These are used to spread the crane’s ground bearing load over unsuitable areas. One of our 100-tonne Liebherr LTM1100-5.2 cranes is assisting with the placement of structural steel frames in all rail station excavations.”

Summarising the high level of MCR involvement, Gregg said simply: “Sydney continues to grow.”

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