Far North Queensland is a land of enormous distances and remarkable people. The country demands and attracts a certain type of resident and for those who call it home there really is no other place like it.
Brad Smith, Coates Hire’s Cairns Branch Manager and true Cairns local, was keen to nominate another local – Alban Zingle – for recognition of his remarkable efforts last year to create opportunities for himself and to inspire other indigenous people to do the same.
“Because there was no work around for him locally, Alban decided to try and find some further afield. When he found it he secured funding through the government, hired a water tanker from us and took it up to the community of Kowanyama, about 600 km north-west of Cairns. There he used it to work on road reconstruction following the wet season,” Brad explained.
Kowanyama Aboriginal Community lies 25 km inland from the western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria and about 400 km north of Normanton, in the South Western region of the Cape York Peninsula. Home to more than 1000 people, which makes it one of the largest settlements on the Cape, Kowanyama has a tropical savannah climate and during the wet season receives, on average, nearly 300 mm of rain per month.
“During the wet season the roads basically get washed away and have to be rebuilt. Knowing this, Alban decided to get in touch with the Kowanyama Shire Council to see if he could get some work. It happens that they were looking for a water tanker, so that’s when he got his government backing and away he went.
“Kowanyama is about a 14 hour drive from Cairns, which gives you an idea of how rough the roads are. Not only did Alban hire a 12,000-litre capacity water truck from us, he bought some extra spare tyres and other bits and pieces of his own accord as well, just in case.
“That was in June 2011 and Alban was away until the end of the year, returning the truck to us in December. In his final month away, when the work at Kowanyama was complete, he went down and worked with the Normanton Shire Council.
“Alban did a great job of looking after the truck, too. Our service guys travel all over the Cape and during that time carried out scheduled truck servicing, plus they had to replace a pump that failed. But other than that the rig worked perfectly and was returned to us in great condition.
“What Alban did was a real inspiration, both for us and for the local indigenous community here in Cairns. He saw an opportunity and went for it and it worked out really well. He’s shown what you can achieve with initiative and determination and I believe Alban’s already planning to return again this year, maybe with two trucks and a second driver,” Brad concluded.
Coates Hire Cairn’s office covers the whole of the Cape York Peninsula, from Cairns through to Thursday Island, and specialises in supplying and maintaining equipment to remote locations and communities. The Branch’s sales and service territory covers an area approximately the size of the state of Victoria, but Brad and his team have established an enviable reputation for meeting whatever challenges come their way – just like Alban Zingle.