Business Feature, Earthmoving Industry Insight, Excavators, Machinery News

OneTrak and St Helens Quarries

This Hidromek HMK310LC is the latest addition to the fleet at Tasmania’s St Helens Quarries, supplied by the team at Onetrak

L-R: PJ Berne and elyce, Andy and Joanne Griffiths

Husband and wife Andy and Joanne Griffiths started St Helens Quarries in 1998.

Today, 24 years on, it remains a small family-operated earthmoving and quarrying business, with daughter Elyce joining the company three years ago and another employee, PJ Berne, joining recently.

Andy started in the industry at 14 years of age working for his father’s concrete, quarrying and earthmoving business.

He then moved on to work in road construction and maintenance of logging roads with Forestry Tasmania, before deciding to start up the family business.

Based in St Helens, the largest town on the north-east coast of Tasmania, St Helens Quarries now includes three quarries in the local area and one in Fingal, just under an hour’s drive south.

One of the quarries is a sand lease while the three rock quarries produce decorative landscaping pebbles and a full range of road materials – including VicRoads-compliant Road bases and high PSV 54 sealing aggregates.

All of the quarries are free of the root-rot fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi, which means the material produced can be used in sensitive areas such as Tasmania’s national parks.

While Joanne’s focus is on administration, as with many family businesses, she takes on a variety of responsibilities, depending on what is required on the day.

“The four of us are jacks of all trades,” she says.

“I mainly work from the office, organising quotes, spare parts orders, etc. but will also jump in the wheel loader to help out in the quarry when required. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with running a family business.

“In addition to the quarry we supply the major contractors on government projects with quarry materials for road upgrades. We also supply material to the local landscaping yards, the council and earthmoving companies in the area”, Joanne adds.

The HMK310LC has an operating weight of 31.9 tonnes

St Helens Quarries currently owns four excavators, two-wheel loaders, two trucks, a crusher and a mobile screening plant.

The newest addition to the fleet is a 31.9-tonne Hidromek HMK310LC H4-Series excavator.

“I saw the Hidromeks in a magazine and thought they looked very impressive. The opportunity arose and we needed another excavator, so we contacted Onetrak”, Andy explains.

“Everyone at Onetrak were great to deal with from the start and invited us to demo a machine so we could test it. We also got the contact details to an earthmoving company here in Tasmania that own a couple of Hidromeks and got a testimonial directly from the owner of that business.”

The team at Onetrak had provided all the extra assistance that the busy St Helens team needed.

“From the get-go Onetrak has gone out of their way to help in every way possible,” Andy says.

“They have even helped with a machine we bought from another company that we have had some challenges with.”

Andy says there’s plenty to admire about the new addition to the company fleet.

“The Hidromeks are quiet, comfortable and enjoyable to operate. They’re as good as anything else on the market, if not better,” he says.

“The HMK310LC is performing better than we expected in our hard rock quarry operation. They’re built extremely solid with reinforced steel components that I have not seen on any other excavators.

“The interior of the cabin is great – I reckon I’d happily operate the Hidromek for 12 hours a day without complaining,” Andy adds.

Subdivision

Andy and the team were recently contracted to work on a subdivision project completing trenching and rock breaking, where they turned to Hidromeks again to help them out.

“We needed a hire machine just recently and utilised the Hidromek HMK 145 LC SR zero swing excavator through Onetrak Rental. We were super impressed with that machine – for a machine its size, at 16.8 tonnes, it was very solid and stable to operate. Great machine,” Andy concludes.

For daughter Elyce, who has been operating the new Hidromek HMK310LC since last year, the cabin is also a comfortable place to be.

“I really like the Hidromek. It’s very comfortable with the adjustable air suspension seat and super easy access to everything,” she says.

It’s been a big change of pace for Elyce, who officially joined the family business three years ago after working at the local supermarket.

“I started in the eight-tonne excavator and then progressed to a 25-tonne and 40-tonne,” she says.

“So far most of the work I’ve done has been in the quarry, feeding the crusher, breaking rock, or loading the trucks. Outside of that I’ve also worked on some of our other projects, excavating trenches.”

The newest addition to the fleet – Hidromek’s HMK310LC excavator

When asked what she likes most about the job Elyce responds: “I like that I just get in the excavator and get on with the job – I put my favourite podcast on and just get the job done.”

Elyce has gained quite an impressive following on her Instagram page, earning her a few ambassadorships with work-wear brands.

“I just started sharing a few posts here and there of the machines or from my working day and it has just grown from there”, she says.

Onetrak is the official supplier of Hidromek in Australia. Sales and service outlets are located in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia. 

To learn more about Hidromek or to view the full range of machinery sold and supported by Onetrak  visit www.onetrak.com.au or call 1300 727 520.

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