Higher call­ing

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Justin Bian­chini

STU­ART Bai­ley wouldn’t swap his job for the world.

The 43-year-old sits atop Joon­dalup as one of two crane driv­ers on the Ge­or­giou Group project to build an eight-storey de­vel­op­ment in Davidson Ter­race for govern­ment work­ers. “I love my job; it’s awe­some,” he said. “Though it can be men­tally tax­ing, it’s still rea­son­ably re­lax­ing.

“From where we are, you can see the ocean, hospi­tal, Lake Joon­dalup and the city.”

PERCHED high above Joon­dalup in his cab in the sky is not a po­si­tion Stu­art Bai­ley imag­ined him­self in.

The Ge­or­giou Group crane driver trained as a chef in Eng­land be­fore com­ing to Aus­tralia nine years ago and be­com­ing head chef at The Boat in Min­darie.

Af­ter head­ing up north for work and miss­ing his then six-month-old daugh­ter Mad­di­son, Stu de­cided on a ca­reer change and joined his fa­ther-in-law in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. He trained to get his rig­ging ticket be­fore do­ing a course in crane driv­ing.

“I gave up my lunch breaks to go up cranes so I could learn how to op­er­ate them bet­ter,” he said.

Prac­tis­ing swing­ing the crane around was one thing, learn­ing how to pick up a load was an­other.

He’s now been op­er­at­ing big cranes for six years and shares the driv­ing du­ties with Roy Snare on an eight-storey Joon­dalup de­vel­op­ment Ge­or­giou Group is do­ing for Primewest and the State Govern­ment to house more than 800 pub­lic ser­vants in 2019.

On oc­ca­sion he felt “the soli­tude” of his perch while “ev­ery­one else was down be­low”.

“You have to be switched on at all times,” he said. “You’re ma­noeu­vring around peo­ple; some­times you can come down from the crane men­tally ex­hausted.”

Stu praised his com­pany, which he said was be­hind any de­ci­sion to stop the crane if it was too windy.

“If it gets to 35km/h, it is too dan­ger­ous to lift the big tilt (con­crete) pan­els,” he said.

He said his daugh­ters Mad­di­son (8) and Paige (3) were “so proud” of their fa­ther’s oc­cu­pa­tion.

When asked at her school in Joon­dalup what her dad did, Paige was able to go out­side with her class­mates and point to a 42m-high struc­ture.

“That’s my dad’s crane,” she said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d473238

Stu­art Bai­ley on site at his work­place on Davidson Ter­race.

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Stu­art Bai­ley in front of his crane.

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