1966 Hobart: Charlie Long Takes Two D60A's Dozers
Philip Long, Hobart: father Charlie purchased two of the first Komatsu D60A dozers sold in Australia in 1966.
My father, Charlie Long of CA Long Pty Ltd, bought two of the first two Komatsu dozers sold in Australia from AMS Machinery, of Patrick Street, Hobart in 1966. We still own one of these, and it is believed to be the oldest Komatsu dozer still working. It's up on our farm at Buckland on the East Coast, and it's been there since it left the Komatsu workshop in Hobart in 2002 and it's still going strong.
My father, who passed away in 1993, did a lot of earthmoving and excavation work in Hobart and Southern Tasmania, including working for the Hydro and selling sand to the old orange Readymix, and to Pioneer when they first came to Tasmania.
The two D60As, one fitted with rippers, started their working lives on the Strathgordon Road for the Gordon Dam, and in Strathgordon Village for the worker's village. Japanese machines were so rare then, the workers called her "Tokyo Rose"!
They eventually came back to Hobart, and did lots of demolition and excavation work around the city, including the Wrest Point Casino, reclamation work at Selfs Point for the oil terminals, and foundations and earthworks for a lot of Hobart's high-rise buildings.
In fact, you could say that these two Komatsu dozers did the earthworks for a lot of modern Hobart!
My father sold one of the D60As in the 1970s, but we hung on to the other one. Both machines were factory fitted by Komatsu with nh 220 Japanese Cummins motors and to the best of my knowledge, it's never been touched at all.
In fact, we've never had any real trouble with that machine.
She was overhauled in 1984, including new chains, steering clutches, idlers and track rollers, and repairing general wear and tear parts.
Komatsu had her back in about 2002, and told me they believed at that stage she was the oldest working Komatsu in Australia. I now use her on our property of 40-odd acres at Buckland, doing a bit of dozing and land-clearing.
Last year, I had the blade lift rods and the seals replaced.
She's a beautiful old dozer, just ticks away nicely. Quite a lot of the parts are not available any more, but I source second hand or after market parts that will work.
You know, when these Komatsu dozers first came out, people were one-eyed about two American brands; this machine was "Japanese junk". Well, Komatsu has well and truly proved itself now.