A different way to “retire”

Host: Direct Drilling
Written by Jill Williams – Co-Founder & Operations Manager, Direct Drilling

Always best to start with introductions of who’s who. Direct Drilling was founded by my partner Andrew McWaters and myself, as one of the twists and turns of live’s journey. Andrew (aka) Andy, and myself, retired for all of 9 weeks, founded the company in August of 2009, from the humble beginnings of a camper trailer in Broome.

My name is Jill Williams, and Andrew and I have been life and business partners now for over 20 years. Working together has it challenges, but must be working, as we still work and play happily together (most days).

We failed miserably at retirement, but have gone on to live the dream of working and living in the Kimberley, and being a part of the amazing community that makes up the pastoral and business community across the top end.

Direct Drilling is based in Kununurra WA and provides drilling services throughout the Katherine, Kimberley, and northern Pilbara regions. We offer a range of drilling services, specialising in water well / bore drilling and construction.

We were both originally off the land, 2nd and 3rd generation farmers in South Australia, moving onto other business interests, and finally water well drilling, based out of Adelaide.

In 2008, after the life changing challenge of losing my only child Jessica from viral pneumonia in Alice Springs at the age of 19, Andy and I reviewed our priorities, sold the business and drill rig, and hit the road in our brand new flash camper trailer. Not sure where we might head, we took up the offer of the new owner of our rig, to join any of several drill crews working around Australia. Andy to use his many bush mechanical skills, and I to do marketing, and review of operational procedures. 5 weeks into the arrangement, having not been paid for the rig, we parted ways. Andy to Adelaide to collect and store the rig, and I to Broome to await his return.

2 weeks later the drill crew that we had been travelling with pulled the pin, and all arrived in Broome, without work or any prospects. James Coad, a young fellow from Quorn SA, with 5 years experience drilling in many remote parts of Australia was amongst them. Seeing an opportunity, we decided retirement wasn’t for us … “lets go water well drilling in the Kimberley” we thought. After 12 months based in Broome, we made the decision to move the business to Kununurra, where we have been based since.

James has been and integral part of our business, and Direct Drilling would not have been the success it is today without him. It is rare to find such a diverse range of skills, experience  and integrity in one so young, yet James has taken on very challenge, and risen to every occasion.

In July 2017 James took over the company, Andy is trying his second attempt at retirement, and I am enjoying my new role in the company. Not much has changed, except I actually get paid (a rare thing when you work for yourself).

The business continues to grow every year, with a loyal client base which Direct Drilling has built on our reputation of value for money, fairness and workmanship.

Water is life’s blood, we love the diversity of the amazing people we meet, the wide open spaces and the remoteness, the joy on people’s faces when the water flows…… living the dream, all tails wagging…..

Jack the driller’s dog’s business card.