EDWARD BERNARD MAWSON (Barney) began work as a contractor cutting thistles for the Kerang Shire in Victoria. Barney also worked with his father Charles and brother Bill in the Gunbower Forest cutting wood. When Charles passed away in 1918 his sons continued the business which included fencing and cartage contracting. In 1927 the Mawson Brothers dissolved their business selling their steam traction engine, draught horses, mares, drays, ploughs and scoops.
Always keen to invest in new ideas Barney decided to invest his share of the sale in a 1.5 ton, four cylinder petrol powered Chevrolet truck which he used to deliver firewood to the Cohuna Buttery Factory. WWII brought both hardships and opportunity for Mawsons. Two trucks from their fleet of nine were commandeered for the war effort. Fuel was rationed and scarce. Mawsons staff converted the majority of the remaining fleet to gas fuel (produced by burning charcoal). Cartage became the major source of work for Mawsons during war.
Mawsons civil construction and road making contracts required a lot of quarry products. In 1952 this demand grew to the extent that Mawsons purchased their first quarry at Mt Hope. This was followed with the purchase of Pyramis, Lake Boga and Lake Cooper Quarries. Around this time Barney was joined in his business operations by sons Ken, Bernie and Lloyd. (Hall of Fame Inductee 2012).
In 1964 their first batch plant was established in Cohuna. The growing tip truck fleet was assisted by up to 30 subcontractors delivering quarry products and transporting equipment throughout Victoria and Southern New South Wales. In 2019 over 380 people are employed by Mawsons who presently own and operate 42 concrete plants and 20 quarries with a fleet of over 100 company trucks.
Barney Mawson retired from business in 1971 and passed away in 1985 at the age of 89.
From very humble beginnings, Barney's foresight, shrewd business practices and willingness to "take a punt " has ensured the Mawson Empire has grown.