Hailing from the small rural town of Corryong in north eastern Victoria, S & K Whitehead Earthmoving plays a pivotal role in keeping the surrounding farmlands, national parks and roads in order and like many rural operators is one of the great all rounders.
A fleet of mainly Kenworth trucks including a T409 and a new T410SAR tipper are part of a formidable force that keeps the operation ticking over, day in and day out.
The Upper Murray town of Corryong is nestled in the heart of one of Australia’s most picturesque and geographically diverse regions. Located in the far north eastern corner of Victoria near the pristine upper reaches of the mighty Murray, the town also resides in the foothills of the western escarpment of the NSW Alps.
As such, the ambient temperatures fluctuate dramatically throughout the year from sweltering summers to shivering winters, the latter largely thanks to the town’s relative proximity to the snow-covered peaks of the Victorian and NSW High Country.
A popular tourist destination, Corryong has a number of attractions including The Man from Snowy River museum that was established in honour of Jack Riley, the man whose legendary act of horseback heroism in the mid-1880s inspired Banjo Patterson to write the ubiquitous poem detailing his incredible ride.
The town is also home to Simon and Kim Whitehead, owners of S & K Whitehead Earthmoving, who have an undeniable and far-reaching respect for the region and its people, and who are proud to play their part in providing a reliable and efficient service that literally moves the earth for the close-knit community.
For example, in the aftermath of the ferocious fires that tore through western Victoria in early 2020, the company was called upon to carry out remediation work, particularly after heavy rain fell in the following months and washed away much soil left exposed by the ravaging effects of the fires.
“The recovery from the fires, then the floods and whatever else has turned up since has given us plenty of ongoing work,” says Simon Whitehead. “In fact, I would say that 2020 was our busiest year yet.
“Because the countryside was razed bare by the fires it had no holding ability and during subsequent heavy rain events the water tore down the hillsides and washed huge amounts of material over paddocks, roads and into culverts. It really made a huge mess.
“I know of people up this way who have cleaned up two or three times since the fires, we’d been in there with dump trucks and removed rocks from all over their paddocks, then a few weeks later we were back there doing the same thing all over again.”
Simon remarks that his company is one of the great all rounders, very versatile and undertakes a wide range of operations for various entities in eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales.
“We’re not just doing the one thing: We work for dairy and beef producers up here and because we straddle the border we contract for government agencies like National Parks, Snowy Valley Council and Towong Shire this side of the border,” says Simon.
“We also work for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning when they’re chasing fires around the place and we do track-work to give access for logging trucks to get into the bush.”
Simon adds that he also owns a gravel pit as a complementary arm of the business that adds significant value to the operation.
“We do 25mm and 40mm road base that’s used for re-sheeting gravel access roads for the likes of dairy farms that receive milk tankers on a daily basis,” says Simon, adding that most of the time the gravel is carted by the company’s own trucks unless things get really busy, in which case Simon can call on a number of mates with trucks to subcontract for him.