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
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
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,
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
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!