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…
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 INDUSTRY BOND
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