From a blacksmith shop to a company owned by its employees operating a fleet of some 125 vehicles (including excavators from 1.8 to 120 tonne) Shaw Contracting has come a long way in the last 8 decades!
It was company founder, James Allen Hope (Jim) Shaw who set up the blacksmith shop in Whitemore in 1935 performing all the activities of a village blacksmith.
Since then a succession of Shaws have successfully established a thriving national business involved in civil construction, environmental management, water and energy infrastructure, and contract mining.
The initial expansion of the blacksmith business was to enlarge the workshop and diversify into the production and repair of car equipment and farm machinery. The original Whitemore garage to service vehicles was erected in 1953. The building still stands today.
In 1956, JAH Shaw and Sons partnered with Ford Pearn to jointly acquire the biggest bulldozer available at the time, the International TD24. That purchase launched the company in to a new era, and the original TD24 is now proudly located in the Whitemore museum located at the firm’s headquarters.
With this acquisition and that of other civil equipment, Shaw and Sons were able to successfully tender for the Cressy Irrigation Scheme, a major earthmoving project for the company and Northern Tasmania in the 1960’s.
This led to expansion of activity within both Tasmania e.g. removal of one million tonnes of clay at Savage River for the current iron ore mine, and on the mainland, with a major tender for the Hume Highway in Victoria which employed some 150 personnel.
In 1974 the company transitioned to Shaw Contracting under the guidance of the current owner Alwyn Shaw in conjunction with two other brothers as co-directors.
The Hume Highway project allowed Shaw to become involved in larger and more complex and multi - disciplined projects, requiring the company to increase their fleet and employee numbers, which expanded the field of expertise in to the water, environmental, and other civil construction activities.
A complete list of projects that have unfolded for Shaw since that time, are included in the Project & Services (Project Archive) section of this website.
In the early 90’s after the retirement of the two brothers, Alwyn became Principal Director. The growth of the company led to fleet and employee increases, which in turn required the expansion of both the company Head Office and Workshop facilities. In 1997 the current 3-storey office building was designed and constructed by the Shaw internal engineers.
Shaw Contracting now owns and operates one of the largest and most comprehensive fleets of earthmoving equipment in Tasmania.
In 2012 an Australian Earth Award for engineering excellence, innovation and preservation of environmental and heritage values associated with the Winnaleah Irrigation Scheme in North Eastern Tasmania, reinforced Shaw’s position as one of the few contracting companies in Australasia with environmental sustainability credentials.
In 2013 the ownership of Shaw Contracting, now Shaw Contracting (Aust) Pty Ltd changed hands with a management buyout, allowing Alwyn Shaw to retire.
Company founder, Jim Shaw, would have found it difficult to foresee how the blacksmith’s shop he established in Whitemore would grow into the multi-million dollar civil contracting and mining company it is today.
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