Mackay & Sons History starting with the original founder John Mackay
1961 John Mackay worked as a fire fighter in Brisbane with wife Bev and 1 year old son Bob at home, also working another part time job of garbage collecting to make ends meet. He would Work 4 days in the QFB and 2 days Garbage collecting. John sought alternative ways to make money for his small family and noticed a lot of old houses needed restumping so he offered his services to a local restumper and started restumping on his day off.
1963 Working for the fire brigade and restumping homes on his days off John noticed a problem with his vision and saw a local doctor. John Mackay was diagnosed Melanoma Cancer of the right eye, this was terrible news but didn’t let it get him down.
1964-1965 John Mackay continued to work in the fire brigade and restump houses on his days off whilst doctors kept a close eye on his developing cancer. Determined to provide for his now growing family he continued to work and took great joy in the little time he had to spend with his family Bev, Bob and new daughter Debbie.
1966 John received horrifying news that the melanoma in his eye had turned malignant. John had no choice but to have his eye removed. Due to only having one eye John was honourably discharged from the QFB. With little money and a family to support, John Mackay started Metropolitan Restumping Service with a fellow Fire Fighter, Tommy Conellan. They setup a small office at John’s family home at 10 Franklin Street, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane with wife Bev manning the phones and being the “Silent Partner” doing all the behind scene activities. Business cards were made and Advertisements were put in the “Phone Book”.
1967 With restumping being the only means of income for John and his family, he gave it everything he had . With business steadily increasing day to day Tommy Conellan knew he had to either leave the fire brigade or give up restumping. He chose to stick to fire fighting and sold his half share to John. Now with John the only owner he expanded the business into other areas such as house raising and sliding houses.
1968 John devotes all his time to the business, hand writing his own contracts and quotes each and every night, something he would do for many years, spending his weekends quoting work and reading into better and safer work methods for his business. John learns many trade secrets for house raising and sliding making him able to complete the jobs faster, safer and cheaper. Witch in return would give him more raises/slides.
1969 With John’s knowledge and understanding of houses growing he seeks to diversify into other areas. He notices an advertisement in the local paper for a house removal business for sale. The Company called Cyril Hoff House Removals. CHHR had been going for some 30+ years and Cyril was retiring. John inspected the equipment and made the offer to restump Cyril’s house and pay a sum of $2,000 in exchange for a 2 axle wooden trailer made from power poles and airoplane wheels, 1x kb9 international truck, a Plymouth sedan, timber skids, jacks and an assortment of other tools together with a 12month crash course in house removing. John Mackay House Removals was officially born.
1st September 1969, the very first house was moved in Ascot, Brisbane. Being the first home John had ever moved, he took it very slowly unfortunately the house and truck got bogged into the road and had to be winched to its destination. It took 20hrs to move the house 1km. Today this job would take on average 5 minutes. This was the first of many houses that John moved and in a few short months a new business premises was required. The family and the business moved to 20 Somerset Street, Windsor Brisbane
1970 Johns new love for house removals drove him to focus on house removals, he would endlessly talk about it with anyone who would listen and spend nights researching new and different methods in Australia and New Zealand in the hope to make it more affordable for the average family, however stumping was still the main component of Johns business. Over the year house removals slowly grew, it was still a very much unheard of trade.
1971 By the end of 1971 John Mackay House Removals was advertising in all papers and phone books. By this stage John had successfully implemented different methods and techniques which he had studied making jobs run smother, safer and faster resulting in an influx of work. John bought out another House Removalist Company, Ken Dell House Removals based in Redcliffe for $6,500. This included a state of the art 2 axle dual wheel steel trailer more styes, jacks and a keen crew of young workers including a man named Peter Waldock. Peter would later become Foreman for the 3rd generation Mackay’s. 1971 saw John’s love affair with Mack trucks evolve and he bought a 2yr old b61 Mack truck. This was unheard of in the house removal industry where most equipment was either homemade or outdated by 30 yrs.
1972 Much to John’s satisfaction, John Mackay House Removals was leading the industry across Australia. JMHR became one of the largest house removal companies in Australia and was always owned and operated solely by John throughout his tenure at the helm. House relocations had now become the main component of John’s business with more than 14 men employed, along way from a crew of 2 or 3 men, it was definitely bigger then John had dreamed.
1973 With the business growing every day John continues to lead the industry, always researching and investing in new equipment and methods to achieve jobs safer, quicker and easier. John always looked after his staff and he expected nothing but the best of his men and they in turn respected him.
1974 Tragedy strikes as Brisbane suffers from horrendous floods never seen before. John is contracted to move hundreds of homes out of the lowest lying areas to avoid future floods. Many of these areas included Windsor, Wilston, Bowen Hills, Chelmer, Rocklea. Numerous suburbs were simply wiped out by torrents of water and John was solidly booked out for more than 2 years and found he was saying “sorry” to potential clients as he was unable to carry out their move for some time. After leaving the QFB 8 years earlier to do house restumping, John had changed his business direction and founded a unique niche, doing what not many had done before him, a true risk taker. John Mackay House Removals is now so large it can no longer work out of residential premises at Windsor. John sources new premises for the Business only, whilst the family moved back to the former family home at Kelvin Grove. The new business premises, affectionately known by John as “The Depot” was zoned “industrial” which was perfect for John’s growing business and vision. This also kept him in good steed with the Brisbane City Council. John purchased the property at 60 Ryan’s Road, Northgate which would remained Johns “Depo” for the next 22 years. This is also the year that John Mackay House Removals formed a Company, Hunstall Pty Ltd trading as John Mackay House Removals.
1975 With a well-established business, John was ecstatic to see his eldest son Bob Mackay join the family business, with team work and eagerness to learn Bob would quickly learn the trade.
1976 With Bob by his side the business thrived requiring more and more room, John purchases the adjoining property to expand.
1977 With John constantly researching new techniques and always updating and maintaining his equipment. The business grows and it is now so large that it not only moves houses for itself, it also moves houses for 3 other Removal Companies, moving on average 4 houses a week all over the State of Queensland. Sometimes away from home for many days.
1978 With growth increasing every year the need for more room is growing, with foresight in mind John purchases 2 more adjoining properties to enlarge his Depot at Ryan’s Road, Northgate.
1979 John continues to grow and another adjoining property was purchased. With new requirements for road and government permits becoming more and more complicated and time consuming John decides to make his son Bob Foreman allowing John to spend less time onsite. With the hydraulic age upon them John invests in a new machine called a bobcat, making work efficiency and capability increase. John also gets tech savvy and purchases a mobile phone, it was the size of a cinder block and his family would tease and laugh each time he used it.
1980 with the constant need of workers John bought 3 residential properties on Ryans Road, Northgate for workers to live in. As the cost of timber rises and the production of steel beams grow, it becomes more feasible and safer to use steel under slings/ carrying beams. All timber beams are changed to steel, a costly yet safer way to move homes. John had a very firm saying…..”nothing stays the same forever” and he used this philosophy constantly in his day to day running of his business and the safety of his men. He loved to embrace change and understood to be successful, change had to happen.
1981 with John’s quest to become the largest house removal company, he purchases yet another House Removal company, Allen Lorie House Removals. This take over includes 2x b model Mack trucks and 2x brand new state of the art hydraulic 2 axle duel wheel boomerang trailers which could be raised from 1m up to an astronomical 1.7m. These where the first hydraulic trailers in Queensland. This dramatically increased the time it took to move houses, now John could lift up over guardrails/ bridges etc. Whereas before blocks where required to be laid on the ground and the truck/house would drive on top of them to get the height required to clear the obstacle. This is also where John’s signature colour of black started. The takeover of Allen Lorie’s business enable John’s dream and vision to become a reality. John Mackay House Removals is now the largest house removal company in Australia.
1982-1983 With the only hydraulic trailer in use in the House Removing business, John’s business thrived moving houses, Again, John was hiring his Business to up to 6 other Removal Businesses. Not many nights went without a move. “Night moves” were allowed every night of the week, except for Saturday night.
1984 With John adamant to stay up to date with equipment and safety he continued to be the best of the best, John purchased the first house removal trailer from Modern Transport in New Zealand which has a 3 axle dual wheel trailer and had the capability to lift up to 2m.
1984 John’s youngest son John Mackay Jnr leaves school and starts in the family business and stays with the Company for approximately 12 months. John Jnr enters and completes a Motor Mechanic apprenticeship with Pauls Dairy. Upon John Jnr’s qualification he returns to the family Company and works as a Mechanic up until 1996.
1985 With the most modern and extensive equipment as well as professional workmanship the work flooded in. John’s work ethic and reputation was well known and he was the preferred Removalist to have.
1986 With work mounting, and new advances in equipment John bought another 3 axle trailer from Modern Transport. This state of the art Trailer had the capability of raising up to 2.4m and having double acting cylinder’s making it able to lift wheels individually to raise over obstacles like holes or banks.
1987-1989 With an extensive fleet and no shortfall of work, the business exploded and John looked for new equipment to make the job easier and safer always wanting to deliver the best to his clients was foremost on John’s mind.
1988 John’s daughter, Debbie started work in the business. John now had all his children, Bob, Debbie and John working in the business. John can finally stop hand writing all his quotes and contracts now he would use a dictating machine and Debbie typed the quotes and they were sent out weekly. Debbie left the family business in 1991.
1990 John bought the first steerable trailer in Queensland and could lift to 2.8m. This trailer revolutionized the house removal industry and is the base for all house removal trailers today, it made “impossible jobs possible” and further cemented John’s name in history.
1991-1995 with a steerable trailer John continues to do jobs people say are impossible and the business grows as does John’s reputation.
1996 After 30 years at the top John calls it a day and retires leaving his son Bob and Bobs wife Debbie to run the business. The company name is changed to Mackay House Removals.
1997 With a fresh start and eager attitude Bob and wife Debbie push the business to grow and purchases a second steerable trailer, with this comes more growth and the need to hire a new forman becomes apparent, Peter Waldoc joined the crew as the new foreman and the business moves to Banyo to get closer to the highway.
1998 As a family owned and operated business Bob is proud to see his eldest son Ben start work in the company.
1999 With Bobs 2nd eldest son coming of age, Robbie starts work and the business is moved to acreage property on the Warrego highway at Walloon with the foresight to store houses on the block for resale.
2000 Now with 2 sons working in the family business the name is changed to Mackay and Sons House Removals, a proud day for the boys.
2001 With a successful few years, Bob dreams big and purchases a property at Narangba which backed onto the Bruce Highway. This property will become the base for the business for the next 15+ years. This was the new “Depot” and the family also lived on the premises.
2002 Bob’s youngest son Matt starts work.
2003 As Brisbane grows the need for tunnels/ busways increase. The government resumes a large number of homes with Bob being the preferred removalist to remove all the homes for the east/west bus way tunnel in Brisbane CBD. This was a major contract moving entire streets for the Brisbane City Council.
2004 After successfully completing the bus way, Mackay and Sons are engaged again to remove the first stage of houses to make way for the Clem7 tunnel.
2005 After a life time of house removing spanning 37+ years Peter Waldock retires, stepping aside to let the boys run the show.
2006 – 27th March, John passes after a short battle with cancer at Holy Spirit Northside, Chermside leaving behind a distraught family. Whilst John was at the helm of his beloved business he built over 40 years he went from a 1 man show who owned a shovel, ute, a water leveller to a multimillion dollar company that he could proudly pass down. A wonderful role model to the next generation. John Gilmour Mackay was a Shearer turned Wool Classer, who joined QFB to provide for his small family until honourably discharged due to the loss of his eye. John took every life setback as a challenge making the most from every situation, always learning and reading. John read until he could read no more. John’s business mind and relentless devotion to his dreams and family not only brought him happiness and success it also did to everyone who encountered him. He will forever be remembered and missed. 12/7/1936 – 27/3/2006.
2006 Bobs daughter Ashleigh also joins the family business.
2007 With all Bob’s children working in the family business, Bob continues to make John proud taking the business to new levels. A wonderful family tradition had been born – Each of John and Bob’s children having had a part in the family business.
2008 Bob is engaged to move the remaining houses for the Clem 7 tunnel.
2009 After 13 years at the top and with 34 years in the industry Bob calls it quits retiring to travel Australia, selling the family business to his 3 sons Ben, Robbie and Matt.
2010-2012 With the 3 boys in control they push the business forward with new, faster and safer methods of moving houses. With a decreasing economy the boys manage to deliver a top quality job at a lower rate, thus increasing the amount of houses moved and the business continues to grow.
2013 After 11 years Matt Mackay sadly leaves the family business to peruse other dreams in Northern Queensland. With technology ever changing and the boys keeping Johns motto in mind “nothing stays the same forever” most equipment is either updated or replaced.
2014 With only the 2 boys and Ashleigh left in the business, they push the business forward. Using the most modern technology they are able to move more houses than ever before in less time.
2015 With business thriving, the need for more efficiency is required more steerable, remote control house removal trailers and trucks are purchased, also a Redcliffe demolition and asbestos Removal Company was is taken over starting Mackay and Son’s Demolition, after 18 years Ben Mackay leaves the family business.
2016 Over the last 50 years, house removals in Australia has changed dramatically and Mackay and Sons has seen it all, in 1966 it would take a crew of 3-4 men 10hr to dig the pier holes for the foundation on an average house , on a good day they could averaging 1 hole per hour per man. In 2016 one man can dig a hole in a matter of minutes while sitting down in a bobcat, with the ability to do an average sized home in a few hours. In 1966 there were only 2 types of stumps, timber or concrete both extremely heavy they would be wheeled around to their holes on small wheels and stood in place using nothing but steel crow bars and physical strength, they then would be levelled to height adding or decreasing the amount of dry base underneath the stump, it would take 3 men all day just to get the heights right using nothing more than a water level and theire strength. In 2016 most stumps are 75×75 shs columns and can be hung and heighted by 1 man and a laser level in a few hours. In 1966 we would hand mix concrete onsite then use wheelbarrows to get it to the holes, if the house was to low for wheelbarrows it would be put in steel milk buckets and passed from bloke to bloke under the house to fill the holes, taking 4 blokes all day to complete. In 2016 concrete is delivered on the back of a truck and pumped into the pier holes using a concrete pump taking no more then a few hours. The time it takes to move a home has also drastically decreased from on average 10, 10hr days in 1970 to 2, 8hr days in 2016 with “night shifts” dropping from 2-3 nights to get to Toowoomba to only taking 3hrs for the same trip. The house removal trailers have also changed from a 2 axle ridged trailer made from logs bolted together that could do nothing but role not even brake in 1969. In 2016 they are full hydraulic raise/lower, steerable, remote control tri axle trailer being able to lift from 900mm to 2.8m also the ability to side shift on hydraulic rams and “walk” sideways using walking legs on the trailer, with the horsepower of trucks increasing from our first truck with 75hp to our newest truck with 685hp with the ability to self-propel using hydraulic rams called “push/pull”. Where it would take 10 men 2 days to raise a home using nothing but logs, mechanical jacks and physical strength the same home can be raised by 1 bloke and a jacking plant within hours simply by pushing a button on a remote-control. This modern technology has made work easier and safer something Mackay and Sons always aim to achieve.
50 years after the birth of the company it is now owned and operated by 3rd generation Mackay’s with no end in sight. Mackay and Sons sits proudly as the oldest, largest, family owned and operated house Removal Company in Australia with enough equipment to hold more than 200 houses on site at once and the capability to move more than 20 houses a week, with storage facilities capable of holding more than 100 houses at any given time. Mackay and sons has seen and completed every aspect of house removals in Australia moving boats, planes, trains, halls, churches ,sheds , barns, jails, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, hostels , pubs, brothels, motels, tanks, trees, ticket booths, offices, cold rooms, airports, schools, demountable, small houses (50m2), large houses (652m2), single storey houses, 2 storey houses, brick houses, timber houses, heritage listed houses, new houses, old houses and of course the classic Queenslander, traveling Australia wide to deliver homes. Mackay and Sons is the industry leaders with more than 7000 completed jobs spanning over 50 years, with millions of dollars of state of the art equipment imported from around the world. Mackay and Sons is leading the industry for house removals in Australia.