Equipment focus: Ray Jackson and his Dresser TD40 dozer
There’s a 40-year-old Dresser TD40 dozer still working at a Melbourne quarry — with the same operator at the controls. Like a cocky and his kelpie, this is a story of a man and his machine, writes RON HORNER.
Ray Jackson points skyward to a point on a slope across the road. "See that tree up there? Well, add another 65 feet to that and that’s how high this sandstone hill was when the dozer came to site as a brand new machine some 40 years ago. The quarry is another cuppla hundred feet deep now and I ripped the bloody lot with this old girl."
Ray turns and pats the 70-tonne Dresser TD40 bulldozer with his worn, 70-year-old hands. "She is a one in a million, this old girl."
Ray Jackson has been ripping sandstone rock with the TD40 for the last 40 years on a quarry lease owned by Aiden J Graham near the Melbourne suburb of Frankston, and the machine is still a daily drive for him.
We got in touch with Ray after attending the launch of the new Dressta dozer range at Onetrak in Melbourne. Managing director David Hazell was telling us about Dressta’s heritage through the International Harvester and Dresser brand names, and mentioned that both Ray and the TD40 were going as well now as they were back in the mid-70s.
During the Dresser TD40’s life it has completed 40,000 hours of solid sand production at the same quarry and, according to Ray, has performed admirably through every one of them.
The material produced from the quarry has been utilised on many major infrastructure projects in Victoria, with the sandstone rock being sought predominantly for roadworks projects.
This quarry has a unique layered nature and diverse colouring, which has proven to be extremely popular in many local industries.
At times, to keep production on line for the supply of material from the quarry, subcontractors or even clients have supplied their own bulldozers to either support or become primary production machines, but whichever way the Dresser has not missed a beat.
Ray says the machine has had several rebuilds of major componentry items such as engine, transmission and final drives but this European-built dozer has just "kept on keeping on" and never given any trouble.
"We just could not warrant selling the old girl," he says. "It has truly been such a good machine."
Ray was market gardening not far from the quarry site when it began operations over 40 years ago, and picked up the job after realising the pay was better.
"I got the job, the new Dresser TD40 dozer came along and we have been the best of mates ever since," he says.
You can see how much affection Ray has for "the old girl" when he speaks of his long-term workmate.
"Forty years we’ve been together — longer than most marriages, and with less trouble I reckon!" he says with typical Aussie humour.
Onetrak territory manager John Goulding also shows great pride in showing off this particular machine to us, saying: "This machine is living proof that, if it is serviced, cared for, regularly maintained and has a competent and careful operator, any machine can have longevity in this rugged Australian workplace."
Ray claims that he would work every day if he was allowed to. He loves the company, the job and, most of all, his beloved Dresser bulldozer.
In this ‘disposable society’ where anything old, bent or damaged (whether it be human or machine) is discarded for a shiny new or younger model, it is so refreshing to find that there are some things that "aren’t broke and don’t need fixin’."
Ray Jackson and his Dresser TD40 just happen to be two of them!
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