Bernie Wood and Singleton Earthmoving have been part of the fabric of life in Singleton for 39 years. We sat with Bernie to talk about his love for doing civil and mining work, what the future holds, and how heavy earthmoving and strong commitment to the local community have enriched his life.
A grateful Kiwi from Taranaki, Bernie was introduced to Singleton in 1980 by a friend with an idea to get a job in the mines. From there it all went to plan; well sort of
With so much happening like Bayswater Power Station, Glennies Creek Dam and new coal mines opening up, he knew this was the place where he could fulfill his dream of owning his own earthmoving business.
Bernie then added to the tale, “I was fortunate a legendary person by the name of Paul Gleeson saw the potential. Anyway, on the day that the rest of the world was sitting down to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Di, we decided to grab lunch at a legendary restaurant in Singleton called ‘Ripples’. That was a good lunch and where Singleton Earthmoving was formed in 1981”.
The next five years saw them undertaking general earthworks like tennis courts, roads and that kind of thing.
In 1988 Bernie was approached by a young environmentalist at Costain’s by the name of James Bailey to focus on something that had not only been neglected, but kind of didn’t really exist then – ‘MINE REHABILITATION’.
Bernie continued, “From a humble start with one old bulldozer and a super spreader, we commenced at Costain mine. Within a decade we were rehabilitating ten different mines from Gloucester to Newcastle and out as far as Ulan in Mudgee.”
“Mine rehabilitation has been our specialisation over the time and companies like Rio, Wambo, Camberwell Coal, Theiss, Bengalla and others have been a pleasure to work with. Some of which we still work with to this day. I want to thank them for the opportunities they have given me. I also want to go on the record saying that as much the media gives them a hard time about rehab, they have in fact been extremely progressive, proactive and willing to invest in returning the land back to better than before.”
But Bernie certainly didn’t do it all alone. He was very insistent on this story attributing whatever success that came along was built by a team of local farm boys with well-known surnames such as Hedges, Brooker, Cox, Bailey and Moore to name a few. Bernie told us with a grin that Mirranie was a very good place to source a great crew.
The other foundation of the business was community as Bernie recalled, “I’ve tried to give back to the community through sponsorship of just about anything worthwhile. I have always had a great sense of giving back to this community that has given me so much. I’m a 25-year sponsor of the Singleton Bulls which I am very proud of. Beyond sport, supporting everything from netball, to the hospital and local schools or whatever it might be. It’s not something I’m that comfortable crowing about but the sense of personal satisfaction of being able to be a part of a place that has given me so much is very gratifying.”
Not being one to like standing around for long, Bernie is still going hard in the business, but the last few years it has been important to set the business up for the future which he begrudgingly accepts will be taken forward by others.
“I’m very pleased and fortunate that local identity and farmer Chris ‘Bango’ Bennett joined forces 7 years ago to make that happen. Since coming together a new energy and more success has come our way,” Bernie told us.
With Bango’s tremendous range of skills and work ethic, Bernie is confident Singleton Earthmoving is in great hands to go the next 37 seven years and beyond.
To sum up the journey Bernie told us that along with the heavy equipment and hard work, getting behind the Singleton community will always be a very, very important part of the business.
“To be honest the way I feel is that Singleton has given this Kiwi boy more than I can ever have dreamt of including two boys and a girl, and more friends than a man could hope for. To people past and present thanks so very much! With Bango’s help, tomorrow looks brighter than ever!”.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is seeking leader to join Advisory Committee
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is calling for Expressions of Interest from local business and community leaders to join our Hunter Advisory Committee. The Committee represents the region comprising Newcastle and the Hunter, Central Coast, Central West and Mid North Coast. Its purpose is to advise and assist the Board and Senior Management Team on matters relevant to the local region while providing governance and oversight on decision making.
The Committee currently has 7 members, including its Chair. Nominations are open for one new member and this appointment will be through a merit based process that considers skills, experience and qualifications.
Expressions of interest close on Friday 16 October.
Position advert and Position Description:
This is an unpaid voluntary position and the Service would like to thank our Community for your continued support as we operate 24-7 for all people in our community.
Students Have A Yarn
St Jamesâ Muswellbrook welcomes a newly constructed yarning circle thanks to the generosity of Malabar Resources.
Fully funded by Malabar, the Yarning Circle will give students and teachers at St Jamesâ Primary School in Muswellbrook the opportunity to sit together and enhance their understanding of Indigenous culture.
A Yarning Circle is an important part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and a harmonious and collaborative way of communicating. It promotes respectful relationships and provides an open environment to share cultural knowledge.
In August Malabar designed and installed the Yarning Circle which involved the placement of more than 5000kg of sandstone blocks.
Malabarâs Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Community, Donna McLaughlin said, âWe are delighted to continue building our relationship with St Jamesâ and other schools in the region by providing resources that help their specific needs.â
âWe look forward to seeing the Yarning Circle develop as native plants and artwork are added to the space, which will further facilitate cultural learning and understanding.â
The new space was enthusiastically received by students. âThank you for this amazing and respectful area where we can teach others about our customs and traditions,â said year 6 student Tushawn.
St Jamesâ Aboriginal Education Teacher, Tania Thompson expressed how thankful they are to have a designated place for our CREST Crew to meet and yarn.
âWhen we meet as a whole group from K-6 around the Yarning Circle, it gives students the opportunity to bond, form strong ties, and unite as one mob,â she said.
âCommunicating, sharing and problem solving as a team are some of the extremely important life skills that we refine when meeting for Yarning Circle.â
âWe learn to listen to one another and to respect the ideas and opinions of others regardless of their age, as we all have wisdom to share.â
St Jamesâ will use the Yarning Circle as an extension of their classrooms and teaching practice to foster knowledge of Indigenous culture by engaging both indigenous and non-indigenous students and teachers.
Have You Checked On Your Mates?
This year has been an absolute shocker and itâs no secret that it has certainly taken a toll on all of our mental health in some way. R U OK? Day this year was more important than ever, and our mining companies and leaders went above and beyond to encourage employees to have meaningful conversations and connect with those around them. Letâs remember to take care and reach out to our mates every day of the year.
This year with COVID-19 restrictions in place the McLanahan teamâs participation in R U OK? Day was a little different compared with previous years when they have hosted an R U OK? Day ambassador at their Newcastle premises.
Still wanting to make a difference, McLanahan donated over $2,000 to Craig Clarkes in his Coals to Newcastle Ocean Swim to raise money for Beyond Blue.
âWow what an amazing generous donation from the McLanahan team. Hugely appreciate your kind praise and lifting the fundraising campaign over the $30,000 mark. Thanks heaps. I will be in touch.â
All staff members received an R U OK? lanyard and a yellow iced cupcake with the R U OK? flag.
DK Heavy Plant Services
RU OK? â that is what everyone was asking in the DK Heavy Plant Services (DKHPS) Workshop on September 10.
Too often people struggle in silence, do not know what resources are available, or even where to start when talking about their mental health.
Sue Milton, General Manager of Upper Hunter Community Services, was able to share with the DKHPS workforce simple advice and resources on these issues and whilst together enjoyed a great afternoon tea and conversation.
To start the conversation, Banlaw grabbed some delish donuts for the team to enjoy, whilst taking time out to ask work mates R U OK?
âAs you can see from our cheeky photoâs, the donuts were a hit and a way for all areas of the business to mingle and remind staff the importance of prioritising their mental health and looking out for those around them,â said Internal Sales Coordinator, Lauren Tonks.
With the combined efforts of their Newcastle and Perth offices, Banlaw successfully raised $216 for suicide prevention.
The team at Northwest Mining started the day bright and early with a mental health toolbox talk for R U OK? Day and encouraged the guys to participate by wearing their TradeMutt shirts â a workwear brand, with the mission to make the invisible issue of mental health impossible to ignore. 5% of TradeMuttâs profits go towards âThis is a Conversation Starter Foundationâ.
This led into a BBQ lunch for everyone, cooked by the company owner Shayne Clark. âWe discussed some statistics on mental health and chatted about how to start conversations if youâre concerned about someoneâs mental health,â said Shayne.
âEveryone was keen to be involved and engaged in the conversations, it was a great day.â
The Bengalla Team celebrated R U OK? Day this year, focusing on teaching people that there is more to say after the initial R U OK? It is important to keep the conversation going and check in on your work mates.
To support the initiative employees enjoyed a coffee and a Kit Kat before and after shift to start the conversation with their work mates. The four important steps include:
– Ask R U OK?
– Listen without judgement
– Encourage action
– Check in
It was an opportunity for team mates to check in on each other and it was well supported from all of site.
R U OK Day saw Tom, Chloe and Matt take the opportunity to catch up over coffee and acknowledge that a conversation could change a life.
There was discussion around keeping an eye on your mates, actually asking R U OK? and whatâs next after youâve asked the question. The team remembered thereâs more to say after R U OK? such as;
– How are you travelling?
– You donât seem yourself â I am here if you want to talk about anything.
– Have you been feeling this way for a while?
– Have you thought about talking to your doctor or a health professional?
– Just wanted to check in and see how youâre doing.
The PERSAS team enjoyed each other’s company during a BBQ and discussed the benefits of R U OK? Day, while social distancing of course.
One thing that was emphasised on the day was not waiting until the next R U OK? day to have open discussions regarding each other’s wellbeing, instead keeping it as an open page where employees can talk to each other at any time.
The R U OK day message is important to Morgan Engineering, but not only just one day a year. Mental Health is important to the Morgan Engineering workforce all year round. This year R U OK? Day coincided with the companyâs fortnightly Toolbox talk, and Business Development Manager Graham Sutton said that everyone got involved with the conversation.
âIt was a great opportunity to discuss what mental health means to our company,â said Graham.
âWith many of employees on shift work and having to spend a lot of time away from their family and friends, itâs important for the whole Morgan Engineering team to be there for each other and check on their mates.â
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