Cann Quarries

By on September 27, 2016

GUS MCKINNON, Director for Cann Quarries reports on the development of the site, from big trees to big rocks.

As the last sawmill closes in Cann River, Cann Quarries ramp up production for a VicRoads upgrade on the Princes Highway 3 km east of Cann River. The poor condition of the highway was a result of two very wet winters which resulted in speed restrictions on that particular stretch of highway.

Gus McKinnon has lived and worked in Cann River all his life. He left school at fourteen and started working on the family dairy farm.

He started driving a bulldozer and falling trees before he was eighteen. He has been involved in dozer driving for logging operations, driving log trucks, pulping operations and had his own portable sawmill to produce timber to sell.

It was when he was working for local saw miller Nobby Doland that he bought his own bulldozer and later a truck and float.

Gus mainly worked with the local Forestry Department, either working on roads, rough heaping or firefighting. The business which originally began with a single operator expanded to include more machinery and employees.

In 1971 there was a major flood in the Cann River and materials had to be carted in from Orbost for repair works. A more local source was needed in order to supply materials to the rivers in the Far East so the quarry was established in Cann River 1978 by the Cann River Improvement Trust.

Cann Quarries started operating the quarry in 1998.

SITE PHOTO: Cann Quarries

SITE PHOTO: Cann Quarries

In order to be able to manage this new enterprise Gus undertook  and successfully completed Certificate IV in Extractive Industries Operation at Box Hill Institute of TAFE.

Cann Quarries joined the CMPA in August 2015 because CMPA is solely to do with quarries and I can get advice and keep up with the latest information.

In 2016 Cann Quarries were contracted by Downers to supply 15000 tonnes of crushed rock Class 2 for a VicRoads contract to upgrade the Princes Highway 3 km east of Cann River. This was a significant project for such a small business.

Betts Blasting a CMPA Associate Member were contracted to drill and blow the material.

Freeman Contracting Services a CMPA Voting Member were able to bring their mobile crushing and screening equipment to Cann River to produce VicRoads specification Class 2 crushed rock.

Local tip trucks as well as those from Orbost and Bairnsdale carted the material to the site.

“I believe this is the first time crushed rock from the Cann River quarry has been used on Princes Highway works” said Gus.

SITE PHOTO: Cann Quarries

SITE PHOTO: Cann Quarries

We are currently supplying quarry products to Cranes Asphalting, for two truck turn arounds each side of Mount Drummer in case of storm events on Mount Drummer.

Cann Quarries is still providing employment for locals.

“The quarry is a great asset because now I can complete jobs when required. That is supply, load, cart, grade and roll material. Or supply beaching rock, cart and construct rock chutes in local rivers.

To run your own business, I believe you need plenty of enthusiasm a positive outlook, good problem solving skills, and reliable local people to fix any breakdowns.”


What is your name?
Gus McKinnon

Who do you work for?
Cann Quarries

How many years have you been involved in the Industry?
30 years

What are your hopes for the industry?
To build up to full time supplying quarry products to Cann River and surrounds. To have a local industry employing locals and to provide quality products.

What is your role at the company?
Jack Gus of all trades! Sourcing work, quoting on jobs, organising and completing jobs. Oh and I just love bookwork!! *sarcasm*


What is the best part of your job?
Getting different jobs to do, planning it out and having all the rocks fall into place. Having happy customers, who come back for more. Looking at buying new Tonka toys! (Except the wife tells me to sell some of them first.)

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