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About Us
 Past To Present


H&R Development Pty. Ltd. was formed as a company in 1981 in response to a demand in the Tennant Creek region of the Northern Territory for a civil contractor to carry out projects for a range of government authorities. Since those early days our company has increased in size and scope of works performed to the stage that we are well qualified to participate in projects of the magnitude needed for the continued development of our Northern Territory. Now embarking on its third decade, our company has the financial stability to take advantage of the potential for growth that will follow the introduction of on-shore gas to Darwin, and the consequent upswing in investment. We are a compact, highly mobile and self-sufficient group.

Over the years our projects have been as varied as carrying out all civil works for the installation of mainline valves and scraper stations on Spread 4 of the Amadeus Basin to Darwin Gas Pipeline in 1985-86, construction of roads, water and sewerage to numerous outback communities, to the installation of 2 x 1mW Kongsberg gas turbines in the Tennant Creek Power Station in 1990.

Work on the Amadeus Basin to Darwin Gas Pipeline involved excavation in all materials (including blasting), concreting, sand blasting, painting and site completion for mainline valves and scraper stations in an isolated area up to 60km west of the Stuart Highway spread over 550kms between Wauchope and Dunmarra in the Northern Territory.

The provision of essential services to many communities in the out lying areas of Australia has given us a unique insight into the problems and pleasures faced by contractors and residents alike in surviving the beautiful but harsh environment. These projects are probably the most satisfying carried out by our company to date and have given us an enduring respect for the tenacity of outback Australians.

The installation of turbines at the Tennant Creek Power Station necessitated a full inventory of second hand turbine, generator and attenuation components as landed in Darwin after dismantling by others in Malaysia and then the engineering, supply and installation of acoustic enclosures including fabrication and supply of all missing components to a fixed price! The turbines were transported by us to Tennant Creek, installed, and the acoustic enclosures then built around the units for subsequent hook-up and commissioning by the then NT Electricity Commission. Supply and installation of a new switch room and transformer yard formed part of the scope of works for this interesting project.

The long awaited development of the massive ore reserves at McArthur River from 1992 to 1995 was the impetus for the beginning of a planned diversification into the tourist accommodation market with the application for land and documentation of the Borroloola Guesthouse and its subsequent construction. The viability of the guesthouse hinged around using the facilities as a construction camp and then for tourist accommodation as construction work on the McArthur River Project wound down. With the successful completion of civil works at MRM and associated Bing Bong Loading Facility, and the delayed start up of the giant Anaconda Nickel project at Murrin Murrin in WA, contracting opportunities were scarce.

By 1995, in anticipation of a prolonged down turn and shrinking margins in the construction industry, this tourism strategy was implemented with the company developing the dual focus of an accommodation arm as well as its traditional pursuit of opportunities in the civil arena. In the construction industry, the filling of swamp land around Darwin for marina and industrial development provided a niche market in plant hire for our off road trucks, excavators and swamp dozer. Projects like Bayview Haven in Darwin, and the construction of Mt Todd Gold Mine and associated gas pipeline in 1996, provided welcome, if not that rewarding, work.

A decision by the Northern Territory Government of the day to commence construction of new wharf facilities at East Arm in anticipation of a start on the Alice to Darwin railway saw limited but long term hire opportunities. However profitable construction work became increasingly harder to come by and the failure by one of Darwin’s less reputable contractors to honor their debts was a sign of things to come.

The strategy to expand into accommodation and tourism was further advanced in 1998 with a rationalization of equipment holdings and disposal of the Tennant Creek depot and warehouse facilities. The funds were utilized for expansion of the Borroloola Guesthouse complex and the purchase of Ti Tree Holiday Apartments in Darwin, a complex of 8 self contained holiday apartments. A severe but long expected downturn in the construction industry in the year 2000, followed by the collapse of Ansett and the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, saw the accommodation/tourism market follow the construction industry! The Bali attacks of 2002 seemed to re-kindle people’s desire for domestic travel but the combined effects of the war in Iraq and the SARS epidemic in 2003 echoed throughout the tourist industy. Strong forward bookings and an early start to the 2004 season brought a welcome return to profitable occupancy levels. It’s great to see a sense of optimism return to the industry, with all operators quietly confident of a great year ahead for 2005.

The long awaited construction of the Alice Springs to Darwin railway proved a lifesaver for the civil construction business in the Northern Territory; although hire rates generally were at historic lows and needed to rebound somewhat to provide an acceptable return on investment. Our fleet of 4 x 30 tonne articulated dump trucks, coupled with our 45 tonne excavator, was utilised by Adrail to assist with the construction of bulk earthworks and rock cuttings. Our two year deployment on the project was completed by late 2003, and the line fully operational by February 2004; a very satisfying project to be involved with. It is no exaggeration to say that this railway, with it’s on going port development at East Arm, will be pivotal to the longer term development of Australia as a Asian nation. The first full year of operation is over and tonnages carried are steadily increasing; albeit rates are also rising.

With 2004 now behind us, our part in the construction of the Wickham Point LNG Plant has wrapped up, and the massive storage tank and associated loading jetty is now a permanent part of our harbour skyline. As of August 2005, laying and testing of the 500km pipe line from Darwin to the Timor Sea gasfields was complete, and the pipe filled with gas. All necessary approvals are in place, and with commissioning underway, first gas deliveries to Japanese customers are expected, on schedule, in early 2006. We are optimistic of being well positioned to take advantage of the upturn in capital works associated with futher development of the Territory’s gasfields.

Late 2004 and early 2005 kept us busy playing our small part in the development of new infrastructure at Alcan’s Gove Alumina Refinery Expansion. This project, scheduled for completion by 2007, will almost double the mine’s output. Development of the 1000km Trans Territory Pipeline to bring gas to Gove from the Blacktip Field, 120 km to the northwest of Wadeye, appears to have stalled, with Alcan electing to use diesel to power the new refinery. The development of this pipeline would bring the potential for new project’s right across the Territory but, with well head costs the main factor holding back a go-ahead, pipelaying seems a way off yet.

The end of financial year 2004-5 was a busy time stockpiling 150,000 BCM of limestone for Northern Cement at their Mataranka quarry in June, and the separation of the Borroloola Guesthouse from H&R Development as part of a partnership buy-out. Financial year 2005-6 holds much promise with the Darwin City Waterfront fast becoming a reality following the announcement in September 2004 of the Darwin Cove Consortium as the preferred developer. Macmahon Holdings absorbed the Northern Territory assets of Henry Walker Eltin and, by December 2005, were hard at work dredging thousands of cubic metres of silt from the project area. A fleet of road trains carted nearly non stop from a borrow pit near East Arm Wharf, and dumped into part of the newly dredged area, to provide the foundation for Darwin’s new Convention and Exhibition Centre. By February 2006, the pad was comple and Sitzler Barclay Mowlem JV took possession of that site. The trucks continued carting, with the fill then being placed as the core of a massive sea wall to protect the entire development.

Although one of our excavators has been kept busy loading fill or placing armour rock at the wharf project all year, in June, our dump trucks and a new Hitachi 470 excavator headed off on our annual trip to the Mataranka limestone quarry. Three months there and it was off on a myriad of small mining jobs to round out the year; signs are promising for further major works in an ever expanding resource sector. For up to date pictures and information about our part in these projects, check our Whispers page.

Despite some reservations in the wider community about the speed of changes, towering apartment blocks continue to sprout up across the Darwin CBD; the latest and greatest aiming at a new height record of 33 stories. These types of infrastructure projects will lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the Northern Territory and herald an exciting future for Australia’s sixth state-in-waiting!


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