An unbroken line of Komatsu dozers

John Bashforth and Sons Komatsu bulldozer
The D155AX-8 dozer of J&M Bashforth & Sons lined up next to its ancestor, a 1960s-era D60A-3.

John Bashforth is a committed Komatsu bulldozer owner with his family company having operated Komatsu machines for more than 50 years. In fact, J&M Bashforth & Sons’ first Komatsu, a D60A-3 was only the second to be sold in Australia.

Located in the Byron Bay area, John’s company is one of North Coast NSW’s best-known operators with more than 30 machines in action across quarrying, development and general machinery for local farmers and builders.

The mainstay of the company’s business is its quarry, just 12 kilometres inland from the Byron Bay lighthouse, where it mines chert, a hard, fine grained quartz silica which has unique self-compacting properties that make it highly prized for base material in building developments and roadwork.

The company is currently working the quarry with a Komatsu D155AX-8 dozer, that only recently replaced a D155A-1 after it had put in 31 years of hard work before it was retired.

The Bashforth company has permission to extract 100,000 tonnes of chert a year and each year they come within 5,000 tonnes of their allowance.

“In fact, for the last two years we’ve been within 1,500 tonnes,” John said.

It’s a fine balance made achievable by a number of operational rules John, and lately his son Luke have put in place.

“We have our machinery serviced on site by its supplier to ensure continuity of mechanical knowledge and as much as possible, we assign one operator exclusively to a machine,” John said.

The operator on the new Dash 8 was on the Dash 1 before that and he knows how to achieve the best result while treating the machine like he owns it.”

Extracting chert is an exacting process and John says the weight and size of the D155AX-8 is well suited to the task.

“There’s no need for a larger machine and the hours we need to fulfill our quota are well within the Dozer’s capability,” John said.

According to John, the two machines returned relatively similar productivity, but the Dash 8 does so with substantial improvements in operator comfort, vision and safety.

“I receive Komatsu’s monthly KOMTRAX report which enables me to understand the operating functions, like idle time, and how much time has been spent ripping and dozing, and how it can improve,” John said.

The good news is that it’s pretty much in-line with what my operator is doing.”

For more information on the extensive range of dozers and loaders, call Komatsu on tel: 1300 566 287, or go to:


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