Mike Davis recently clocked off for the last time, after 45 years of operating cranes on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Geraldine Yabsley, managing director of Mid Coast Cranes, says the company’s “family first culture” encourages staff to stay with the business for the long haul.
In April 1944, at a cost of 400 pounds, Jack Dunn had a 3t capacity Blitz crane fixed to his prime mover. This was the first mobile crane on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
Jack Dunn went on to incorporate the business as Dunn’s Cranes and the business steadily grew. He had five cranes and a couple of trucks when his children Geraldine and Michael joined the family business in the mid 70s. With their input, the business continued to grow and so did the size and capacities of the crane’s they were running.
In 2001, Dunn’s Cranes bought Mid Coast Cranes. It was felt that running two brands would be confusing, so the Dunn’s brand was slowly dropped.
Today, Mid Coast Cranes has a fleet that includes Frannas, slew cranes and all terrains with capacities ranging from 15t to 220t.
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“With the Tadano ATF 220G, we have the largest crane between Newcastle and Ballina. The fleet also includes two new Groves all terrains, a GMK3060 60t capacity, and a GMK 4100-L 100t capacity machines,” said Geraldine.
Mid Coast Cranes has provided their cranes and expertise for many major construction projects from Bulahdelah to Ballina. Over the past 10 years Mid Coast Cranes has played an integral role in the Pacific Highway Upgrade from Nabiac to Glenugie.
“We work with Transport for NSW, Essential Energy, Transgrid, Visionstream, Major Tier One & Two Construction Companies, Mid Coast Council, Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Kempsey Shire Council, Nambucca Shire Council and Coffs Harbour City Council on infrastructure developments and maintenance,” said Geraldine.
“Mid Coast Cranes cover all aspects of lifting, shifting, transport, project assessment and management from lifting a fridge onto a two-story balcony, installing 120t transformers in high voltage electrical substations, to installing bridge girders on major roads projects. Our work is diversified, and we run a fleet to reflect this,” she said.
At the end of June, Mike Davis clocked out at Mid Coast Cranes after 45 years in the crane industry. He started work with Jack Dunn in 1975 when he was 17 years old. He had a tough apprenticeship with Jack, and they worked hard. They were based in the Kempsey Railway Yard near the old Ambulance Station with absolutely no creature comforts, says Geraldine.
By the time Davis’ started work, Dunn’s had three cranes. Davis has carried out a massive variety of lifts over the years and has many stories to tell. Davis has seen a lot of change in the industry and watched this business grow. Davis has always been very generous with passing on his knowledge to new employees. One of our current operators was trained by Davis over 25 years ago when he was a teenager.
“Mike (Davis) is like part of the family, he has been on this journey with me since I was a young girl. Mike takes with him years of industry knowledge and he will be missed by all here at Mid Coast Cranes. I know he is keen to relax and travel with his wife Janice in their van and enjoy retirement with a fishing rod in his hand, and we wish him all the very best,” she said.
“As a business, we have worked hard to encourage a culture where everyone feels we are in this together, which encourages a positive work atmosphere. Everyone is made to feel part of the team. We aim to work in with our employees, we understand that we need to be flexible so parents can be there for their children when need be.”
“We have a very dedicated and professional team and we present ourselves accordingly. I know our professionalism is well received by our customers,” Geraldine said.
“My family has been servicing the Macleay Valley and The Hastings areas for 76 years and counting. My son Bill Yabsley has worked in the family business with me for the past ten years. Bill is slowly taking over the reins and expanding the business. We are excited about the future and look forward to continuing to service the ever-expanding area in which we live,” she said.