Mildura Weekly : Friday November 21 2014 Vol 9 No 3
08 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2014 WHEN Dareton blockies Peter and John Waters, and their respective spouses – Marion and Heather, bought a backhoe in 1964, they could have had no idea where the purchase would lead them. The dried fruit growing brothers were both familiar with the back- breaking toil that it took to dig ag- ricultural drains with a shovel, and reckoned there had to be an easier way. “We both had drains to dig,” John recalls, “and decided a back- hoe would make the job much quicker...and a lot easier.” Peter quickly agreed and the wheels were set in motion, with a backhoe being purchased soon af- ter in Melbourne. The bright yellow machine, based on a TEA Ferguson tractor and sporting a Queen’s Bridge Ma- chinery ‘Dinkum Digger’ was put to work immediately, the brothers learning to operate it as they went. Remember, these were the days when commonsense was held in high regard, and the proliferation of training courses that we know to- day weren’t even on the vocational training horizon. The Waters brothers were prac- tical men, and their skill with the backhoe improved rapidly as they went about upgrading drainage on their properties. Now, in a small rural com- munity like Coomealla, word gets around quick, and it wasn’t long before their neighbours, and oth- er blockies in the area, came knocking to ask the brothers to dig their drains too. “A business grew from there,” John says simply. For many years the brothers interspersed their time on the backhoe with block work, but that got more difficult as the digging work kept rolling in. The pair invested in a growing number of back- hoes to keep up, and began to em- ploy others on a casual basis to help out as needed. The private, predominantly agricultural work continued to in- crease, but so too did the contract jobs for Wentworth Shire Council and the then Water Commission. Unlike the often laborious and time-consuming tender processes of today, back in the 1970s a phone call was all that was required to get the Waters brothers mobile. And, to cater for the increas- ingly larger projects they were be- ing asked to undertake, the brothers continued to invest in new equip- ment, much of it at the forefront of technology for the kind of work they were doing. John recalls that the tracked ex- cavator, with its 360-degree digging capability, was a major innovation for its time and the partnership had one of the very first in Sunraysia. By this time, the Waters brothers had forged an enviable reputation for the quality of their work, and their fair prices. “I reckon it is better to do a job once, and do it properly, than have to go back and fix things,” John says. Guiding principle Number One. As for their charges, John said: “We just charged ourselves, our ma- chinery and employees out at what we reckoned was a fair hourly rate.” Guiding principle Number Two, and their clients must have reck- oned it was fair too, because they kept coming back. It was these two main guiding principles that stood the J & P Wa- ters partnership of those early years in good stead. And, they are two of the prin- ciples that continue to guide the much larger operations of Waters Excavations today. • Continued next page Fifty years ago a pair of dried fruit-growing brothers from Dareton purchased a backhoe. They job it was with a shovel. Their new machine, they reckoned, would make the job a lot quicker, and and their friends and neighbours were soon ringing to have their drains dug too. It was the start They can’t move heaven, but • FAMILY BUSINESS: Brothers John, left, and Peter, right, started the buesiness, but John’s son, Michael, centre, is acknowledged as taking Waters Excavations to new heights. That’s Digger No. 1, BELOW, in 1965. The two young lads in the seat are Michael Sawyer, son of Jeff, the former proprietor of Coomealla Bus Lines, left, and Michael Waters. By Grant Maynard firstname.lastname@example.org $399 * HS45-450 Faster blades for cleaner cuts Well balanced and easy to use Built to last Assembled, fuelled & ready to go! * Promotional price & free esky on HS 45-450 only valid 10/11/2014 - 31/12/2014 or while stocks last.
Friday November 14 2014 Vol 9 No 2
Friday November 28 2014 Vol 9 No 4