Building Australian landmarks for a century

Hansen Yuncken, one of Australia’s leading construction companies, is celebrating 100 years of delivering outstanding commercial and institutional projects across the nation.

Over a remarkable century since 1918 Hansen Yuncken has completed more than 5000 projects valued in excess of $100 billion in today’s dollars.

Still family owned, Director Peter Hansen pays tribute to his grandfather Lauritz Hansen resourcefulness and determination and his close friend Otto Yuncken’s technical expertise.

“They built the company on a foundation of being diligent, responsive and innovative,” he said.

Fellow director Ron Beslich believes the culture of honest dealings and innovative thinking has been the basis of the company’s success.

“We are now planning for our second centenary and that history of innovation will continue with powerful new digital tools enabling us to work more efficiently and productively while driving down costs, “he said.

From the spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne to Hobart’s world-famous MONA, the company has earned a reputation for outstanding quality, innovative techniques and the development of new construction technologies and project delivery methods that have revolutionised the industry.

In 1929, Otto Yuncken devised a suspended scaffold to enable Hansen Yuncken to replaster the domed ceiling at Melbourne’s State Library of Victoria.

In 1989 they converted the Adelaide Railway Station into a casino in record time. Tony Swan, who joined Hansen Yuncken in 1974, said “The tender was based on four sketches to redevelop the existing heritage listed Adelaide Railway Station into a casino, while the trains were still running below.

‘To add to the challenge the state government wanted the project finished in nine months for the 1989 Grand Prix. At one stage my wife suggested that I should buy a bed and establish it on site,” he said.

Hansen Yuncken’s foundations were laid by Lauritz Hansen, a Danish migrant who jumped ship in Melbourne to work as a market gardener, labourer and charcoal burner before establishing his own building company.

Otto Yuncken’s studied at the Melbourne Working Men’s College, now RMIT University, winning first place in architectural drawing and carpentry in successive years.

Since then the company has built landmark projects throughout Australia and as Hansen Yuncken enter a new era of construction, the future presents continued growth and opportunity.

Today the names and faces may have changed but the company remains a family-led partnership, now between the Melbourne based Hansen and Sydney based Beslich families.

IMAGE: Adelaide Casino