A cursory glance at the plaque outside Hastings Deerings in Mount Isa prompted a special celebration for the Caterpillar dealer.
The operation was opened 40 years ago, and marked the anniversary with a barbecue lunch at Kalkadoon Industrial Estate on Wednesday, November 8.
Hastings Deering’s Executive Manager for Mining, Steve Dick, said former Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter Senior, opened the centre in 1977.
“We don’t stand on formality here, but a quick look at the plaque outside confirmed we are officially 40,” Mr Dick said.
“In today’s business landscape, companies come and go, so 40 years is certainly a good run and something to be celebrated.”
This time it was the Honorable Bob Katter Junior who oversaw the celebrations, and paid tribute to two central figures of Hastings Deering.
“Many of you may not know about George Apps. George was Hastings Deering for 25 or 30 years,” Mr Katter said.
"But Les Thiess brought the first D6 Caterpillar dozer to Australia in the 1930s, and brought up all of the American dozers after the second world war. I want all you young guys to know that Les was, until the day that he died, a dozer driver.”
Hastings Deerings in Mount Isa currently boasts 55 employees including four apprentices, with two more apprentices set to start next year.
Grant Sampson is the company’s longest serving employee in the area.
Mr Sampson joined the firm in 1978 in Rockhampton and spent the last 27 years working in Mount Isa, covering more than 75,000 km a year to service his clients.
Conversely newcomer, Kia Burke, chalked up 40 days with the company on the celebratory day.
Hastings Deering marks a record 85 years as a company this year. 70 years ago they started the first Caterpillar dealership in Alice Springs.
In Mount Isa, they have been active in the community, sponsoring many events including Mount Isa Mines’ Zinc Goes Pink and Casa Grande Ball, Mount Isa MineX, Outback Tourism Awards, Richmond Field Day and the Cloncurry Annual Show.
Mr Dick said the Mount Isa operation was critical to Hastings Deering’s ongoing business structure and commitment to servicing both the mining and construction sectors.
“While both sectors can be cyclical, as an employer we believe continuing with apprenticeships is critical to avoid a skills shortage in the future, “ Mr Dick said.
“Every year we provide opportunities for apprenticeship training in Mount Isa.
“We also respect the remoteness of this region along with how far and wide it is and have a commitment to offer unparalleled service to the businesses who choose to live and work here.”