Con­trac­tor Pro­file: Hope Civil

The earth­mov­ing in­dus­try runs on pas­sion for the ma­chin­ery and re­spect for your fel­low op­er­a­tors. Ron Horner re­counts his long-run­ning friend­ship with Danny Hope from Hope Civil, which grew from an in­aus­pi­cious be­gin­ning…

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

It is so good hav­ing a cou­ple of good mates in this won­der­ful in­dus­try of ours, though I have of­ten won­dered how some of us be­came friends in the first place.

Take, for ex­am­ple, Danny Hope of Hope Civil lo­cated in south-east Queens­land.

I was ap­pointed to a land ac­cess con­sul­tant/ cri­sis res­o­lu­tion role on a large wa­ter pipe­line some years back when I found my­self need­ing to make con­tact with an af­fected landowner.

A knock on the door and I was met by Danny’s wife Jo, the most lovely lady one could hope to meet. I ex­plained my sit­u­a­tion and she promptly called on Danny from down the back work­shop.

Now, un­be­known to me, Danny had pre­vi­ously been “done over” by cer­tain Queens­land State Gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties dur­ing the con­struc­tion of an over­head elec­tric­ity power grid ease­ment, where his pris­tine prop­erty was left in a hor­rid state. Never be­ing able to re­solve the out­stand­ing is­sues, Danny was just wait­ing for the right per­son to come through that gate to “rip it up ’em”, and un­for­tu­nately at the time, I just hap­pened to be that per­son.

The en­su­ing next hour was not in my favour as I tried, in vain, to as­sure Danny that my word was my bond and I would guar­an­tee the best ser­vice from me per­son­ally.

A phone call on his mo­bile broke the ten­sion as we headed back to his of­fice and was promptly

The en­su­ing next hour was not in my favour.

told to “take your bloody shoes off be­fore you come in here.” (cranky bug­ger I thought).

Try­ing not to be af­fected by the serve he was giv­ing the caller on the other end of the phone, I took the lib­erty of look­ing at sev­eral of the many pho­tos sur­round­ing the of­fice wall, of which a cou­ple took my eye im­me­di­ately.

There, on the wall, were a cou­ple of pho­tos of some scrap­ers work­ing on a cot­ton de­vel­op­ment on a prop­erty which I recog­nised as be­ing out near Bourke in western NSW.

When Danny had safely re­moved the head and con­structed a new anus for the caller on the mo­bile I asked him if those pho­tos were on this par­tic­u­lar cot­ton de­vel­op­ment, of which he replied: “Yes, but how would you know that?”

I replied: “I worked Bourke; I had ex­ca­va­tors work­ing on the cot­ton, had the Fort Bourke gyp­sum mine for a while and used to roo shoot the ar­eas of Louth, Bourke, Tilpa and Co­bar way back in an­other life.”

Danny eyes widened and replied “Horner – you aren’t that Ron­nie Horner from Lith­gow are you?”

Well, that’s where things changed im­me­di­ately.


The com­mon bond of the earth­mov­ing in­dus­try, work­ing the bush, hav­ing a pas­sion and own­ing your own gear and push­ing the bound­aries cer­tainly came into play from that point.

The prickly con­ver­sa­tions went out the win­dow and old sto­ries just fell out of us as we laughed and joked about the old days and Bourke, the sto­ries we had heard of each other and won­dered how we had never met be­fore.

Danny picked up his mo­bile, rang Jo and said: “Hey Jo, chuck some more din­ner on luv, I’ve got an old mate down here and he’s stay­ing for tea.” That’s how it goes; our in­dus­try is awe­some but pales into in­signif­i­cance to the men who work in it. Need­less to say, we be­came best mates and are still to this day great friends.

This friend­ship has been borne out of true re­cip­ro­cated re­spect for each other’s con­tri­bu­tion to the in­dus­try, pas­sion for earth­mov­ing ma­chin­ery ir­re­spec­tive of colour, creed or re­li­gion, and the im­por­tance of shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, in­dus­try knowl­edge and find­ing time to catch up for a beer or bar­bie, when­ever time avails.

Life hasn’t been an easy road for Danny, he is over re­tire­ment age but a bit of age can’t stop this bloke who is a true sur­vivor in more ways than one.

A trail blazer in his early years, he sur­vived a plane crash, car ac­ci­dents, failed mar­riages, and the ups and downs of this ei­ther bril­liant or tur­bu­lent in­dus­try we chose to pur­sue.

Nowa­days, Danny has a fleet of ex­ca­va­tors, doz­ers and spe­cialises in scrap­ers (all branded with the Cater­pil­lar name on the side) and han­dles all the bulk han­dling earth­works jobs that you could throw at him.

Al­ways sourc­ing the best of op­er­a­tors with the cor­rect at­ti­tude and skills to par­take in lengthy stints away, Hope Civil is in high de­mand for all types of earth­works and min­ing projects in Queens­land and NSW.

With Danny’s firm hand on the con­trols, in­dus­try knowl­edge, a keen eye for de­tail and his track record longer than an out of con­trol driver­less BHP iron ore train in the Pil­bara, you can bet your boots he will be around for a long time yet.

(This is ded­i­cated to the lovely Jo Hope; dear friend and fel­low can­cer suf­ferer. RIP Jo.)

Hope Civil is in high de­mand for all types of earth­works and min­ing projects.

Far left: Cat 623F in ac­tion Above left: Oh no ... not an­other tele­phone call! Ron Horner and Danny HopeAbove right: The D10N is one of the best doz­ers Cat ever pro­duced

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