St Helens Quarries is owned by Andy & Joanne Griffiths who started the business together in 1998. 24 years later the business is still a small family operated earthmoving and quarrying business. Daughter Elyce joined the business 3 years ago and PJ Berne joined the team recently.
Andy started in the industry at 14 years of age working for his father’s concrete, quarrying and earthmoving business. He then progressed to work with Forestry Tasmania in road construction and maintenance of logging roads before deciding to start St Helens Quarries together with wife Joanne.
Based in St Helens, the largest town on the north-east coast of Tasmania, St Helens Quarries now includes 3 quarries in the local area and one in Fingal just under an hour drive south.
One of the quarries is a sand lease while the three rock quarries produce decorative landscaping pebbles and a full range of road materials including VicRoad compliant Roadbases and high PSV 54 Sealing aggregates. All quarries are phytophthora cinnamomic (PC) free which means the material produced can be used in sensitive areas such as Tasmania’s national parks.
Joanne’s main role in the business is secretary but as with many family businesses she wears a few different hats depending on what is required on the day.
“The four of us are jacks of all trades. I mainly work from the office organising quotes, spare parts orders etc. but will also jump in the wheel loader to help out in the quarry whenrequired. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with running a family business”, Joanne explains.
“In addition to the quarry we supply the major contractors on government projects quarry materials for road upgrades. We also supply material to the local landscaping yards, the council and earthmoving companies in the area”, Joanne adds.
St Helens Quarries currently owns four excavators, two wheel loaders, two trucks, a crusher and a mobile screening plant.
The newest addition to the fleet is a 31.9 ton Hidromek HMK310LC H4-Series excavator.
“I saw the Hidromeks in a magazine and thought they looked very impressive. The opportunity arose and we needed another excavator, so we contacted Onetrak”, Andy explains.
“Everyone at Onetrak were great to deal with from the start and invited us to demo a machine so we could test it. We also got the contact details to an earthmoving company here in Tasmania that own a couple of Hidromeks and got a testimonial directly from the owner of that business. From the get-go Onetrak has gone out of their way to help in every way possible. They have even helped with a machine we bought from another company that we have had some challenges with”, Andy continues.
“The Hidromeks are quiet, comfortable and enjoyable to operate. They’re as good as anything else on the market if not better. The HMK310LC is performing better than weexpected in our hard rock quarry operation. They’re built extremely solid with reinforced steel components that I have not seen on any other excavators. The interior of the cabin is great – I reckon I’d happily operate the Hidromek for 12 hours a day without complaining”, Andy adds.
Andy and the team were recently contracted to work on a subdivision project completing trenching and rockbreaking.
“We needed a hire machine just recently and utilised the Hidromek HMK145LCSR zero swing excavator through Onetrak Rental. We were super impressed with that machine – for a machine its size at 16.8 tonnes it was very solid and stable to operate. Great machine”, Andy concludes.
Daughter Elyce officially joined the family business three years ago.
“I was working at the supermarket and just wanted to do something different which led to me starting to work for the family business. I started in the 8 ton excavator and then progressed to a 25 ton and 40 ton. So far most of the work I’ve done has been in the quarry, feeding the crusher, breaking rock or loading the trucks. Outside of that I’ve also worked on some of our other projects excavating trenches”, Elyce says.
When asked what she likes most about the job Elyce responded “I like that I just get in the excavator and get on with the job – I put my favourite podcast on and just get the job done”.
Elyce has been operating the new Hidromek HMK310LC since last year.
“I really like the Hidromek. It’s very comfortable with the adjustable air suspension seat and super easy access to everything”.
Elyce has gained quite an impressive following on her Instagram page earning her a few ambassadorships with workwear brands.
“I just started sharing a few posts here and there - of the machines or from my working day and it has just grown from there”, says Elyce.
Check out Elyce’s instagram page @that_digger_chick.
Onetrak is the official supplier of Hidromek in Australia. Sales and service outlets are located in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. To learn more about Hidromek or to view the full range of machinery sold and supported by Onetrak visit www.onetrak.com.au or call 1300 727 520.