Our First 60 Years
Celebrating sixty years of achievement by one of Bunbury’s leading commercial enterprises. From humble beginnings, BDC Drilling has grown into a flagship organisation, with a legacy of involvement in many of the region’s important developments. Whether helping to establish consistent water supplies for the city’s residents, partnering the growth of the mineral sands and coal mining industries or supporting the activities of multinational resource corporations in the Pilbara, the continuing success of the company is testament to the vision and effort of the successive generations of the Linaker family and those that have worked alongside them.
How It All Began
Our first drilling rig, simple in its operation, but an important piece of history – the genesis of BDC Drilling as it is today. Built by company founder Len Linaker in simpler times, the rig was assembled from readily available scrap metal in the back yard of his property at Blair Street, Bunbury.
A cable drill, it was powered by a 3 hp Ronaldson-Tippett hoppercooled petrol-kero engine. At the time, Ronaldson Brothers & Tippet, from Ballarat, was the largest engine manufacturer in Australia, and this engine was a popular unit throughout the agricultural sector. The rig was used initially for drilling domestic reticulation bores, as well as providing water for dairy cattle around the Bunbury area.
This home-made piece of equipment supported the development of the company for a number of years, until more sophisticated and powerful units became available.
When Len Linaker retired from the company in 1983 he left behind a business with a fine record of thirty years service to the Bunbury community and beyond. We can imagine that he was proud of the legacy, and confident of leaving the business in the safe hands of his son, Brian, who had worked at his side since leaving school.
Len had started the company that became BDC Drilling back in the mid-fifties, but prior to that he’d seen wartime service in New Guinea, where he’d worked as coxswain on barges keeping the Australian infantry supplied on their jungle campaigns against the Japanese. It was here that he learned how to get the best out of the big Ford V8 petrol engines that powered those coastal barges, a skill which stood him in good stead when he joined Bunbury icon, Dorsett Motors, as an apprentice mechanic after the war.
His apprenticeship led to a varied career, including a spell at the Railway Road service station where he worked first on buses, then driving tankers for CSR before moving on to the Bunbury Wharf. It was whilst contracting to Sunny West Dairies, working on installing and maintaining milking equipment, that he found himself naturally involved in the development of pumping systems, and hence bores – an area in which he quickly established his expertise and reputation.