The history books show that it was 1969 when the Divall family sold their Fitzroy Street home and John “Johnny” Divall purchased the property known as “Lone Pine” situated on Carrick Road, Goulburn. Since those early days, which probably involved more growing of potatoes than it did earthmoving, the family and business name of Divall has become synonymous with the Goulbourn area as a thriving business employing more than 250 local people across their various endeavours.
The first 10-15 years at Lone Pine focused on the farming side of the operation, but it was a different ballgame in the 1970s, compared to today. Brothers and now partners, Andy and Michael Divall, would be operating when they’d get a call to load a truck so they would jump in a ute and tear down to the quarry from the farm as fast as they could – an event that might only happen once or twice a day. Fast forward to August 2020 and some 2000 tonnes per week are being moved through the quarry, which is managed by Michael with a good dozen operators running dozers, scrapers and graders.
50th Year Anniversary
It was a big year last year for Divall’s because 2019 was the 50th year anniversary of John purchasing Lone Pine. To celebrate the event John, Andy, Michael and Jack (three generations) sat down with WesTrac to hatch out a plan about a custom paint job on a new Cat® D8T Bulldozer. After working out the details with the Brazil Cat manufacturing facility and settling on the original Cat grey paint scheme, the D8T Bulldozer was ordered and delivered for the milestone. John Divall unfortunately passed away before the 50th anniversary arrived, but the machine has now become a tribute to John. The impressive impact that John and his many successful businesses, goodwill and larrikin attitude has had on the Goulburn region is far-reaching. It is clear that he will be greatly missed with more than 1000 people paying their respects at his send off.
When I arrived onsite at the Lone Pine Quarry I realised the expanse of the site opens up well beyond the size of the quarry itself. A huge workshop and weighbridge area are located onsite along with a massive parking area – keeping in mind that the Divall’s Earthmoving & Bulk Haulage fleet includes more than 40 trucks, before we even factor in the heavy earthmoving Equipment. This is a pretty sophisticated operation – walking into the office felt like being in command central at Cape Canaveral before a space shuttle launch. Every truck and machine is mapped out on a wall with 10 or more large flat screens providing minute by minute real-time info on the day’s workflow. For a guy who likes his technology, gadgets and screens like I do I was suitably impressed.
Goulburn Bypass Project Put Divall’s On The Map
Chatting with Andy about when he felt Divall’s came into its own, he shared, “Back in 1991 we started working on the Goulburn Bypass with just three trucks, which we ran 24/7. We supplied 115,000 tonnes of material from the Carrick Hill quarry. I think that feat put us on the map and bigger opportunities seemed to open up and grow from there.”
When I spoke to Andy and Michael about Caterpillar and WesTrac I could instantly tell they are very passionate and proud of the brand, extensive equipment and longstanding relationship. I asked Andy about the relationship and he replied with enthusiasm and a glint in his eye, “We exclusively use CAT for our Dozers, Graders, Rollers, Scrappers and Compactors. For the last 35 years Divall’s has relied on Cat machines and they have served us well because they’re reliable, powerful and our boys love to operate in their spacious and comfortable cabs. We have dealt with WesTrac since their inception in 2004 and their customer service, product support and reliability is second to none. We have a great rep Jacob who looks after us extremely well. We run out of the Canberra branch and if we ever have any drama it’s dealt with as soon as humanly possible to get us back up and running.”
Our Operator Loves The D6XE
Andy continued, “Our 50th anniversary D8T Dozer is, of course, a very special machine to us, but we have also quite recently taken delivery of our D6XE. The operator loves this machine with its electric drive – he thinks it’s the best thing in the world! It’s great on fuel, fully set up with GPS and can trim out down to 10mm. I got to spend some time in one in Vegas on a field day with Trimble Dimensions and I just loved it; so did my son Jack, so we ordered one and it’s been a great addition to our fleet.”
As with any good relationship the enthusiasm and support need to be a two-way street and when catching up with Andrew Milner (Manager Corporate and Major Accounts) from WesTrac, it was clear his 12 years with the company has set him in good stead to deliver on his clients’ wants and needs.
“I’ve only been working with Divall’s for the last four or five years, but in that time we have supplied dozers, scrapers, motor graders and soil compactors. The whole families, including the new up and coming generation, have been a joy to work with,” said Andrew.
I asked Andrew about the D8T, he shared, “The D8T idea was conceived by Andy and his son Jack that they would purchase a new D8T in a special colour to celebrate the 50 years of business anniversary. Some ideas were bounced around between WesTrac/ Divall’s and Caterpillar about what we could achieve by painting the Dozer at the factory in Brazil. Caterpillar was able to accommodate the request to paint the D8T in ‘Cat grey’, thus matching the original 1929 Caterpillar Twenty Model crawler tractor, which takes pride of place in the Divall’s showroom.”
Andy was lucky enough to be one of the first Australians to lay eyes on a D6XE during the Trimble Dimensions study tour to Las Vegas in 2019. Andy’s new D6XE finally arrived in 2020 and was the first of its type delivered by WesTrac NSW. The D6XE is the world’s first high drive electric dozer. The D6XE delivers up to 35 per cent reduced fuel consumption, along with reduced service and maintenance costs through the provision of a simplified drive train.
There is no doubt that the construction equipment sector has remained strong, buoyed by a broad pipeline of infrastructure work, and government incentives around accelerated depreciation and instant asset write-off designed to soften the economic impacts of COVID. After chatting with some of the WesTrac team it’s great to hear how well the staff and customers have displayed a high degree of flexibility and resilience by managing to quickly change the way they operate, and how they continue to provide service to their customers.