Obituary: Tony (Tone) Mason.

Two days ago, Wednesday 18th May, a large group representing a cross section of our industry met to pay Tony Mason our last respects. Tony was a giant in our resources/construction industries.

He was a man for whom nothing was impossible - a man with bottomless energy, drive and confidence.

Tony first came to our state in the early 1980s to build the HF (Hydrofluoric acid) Alkylation Process plant at BP Kwinana oil refinery.

There he embossed his mark with his unconventional "Can Do" style, he had the process unit half built on timesheets before his management asked him to start.

He returned with his family to Perth deciding that this was the place to live and raise his young family. Previously he had worked on major projects starting in Britain, India, Iran, Portugal, Indonesia, principally oil refineries, process plants and gas processing plants.

Tony returned to WA and started with Dominic Sunjic to get Dom Mechanical started. That company grew to be a major player in our local industry.

This was typical of Tone, many of our good local contractors and fabricators got their start from Tony. If they performed, they got the work: Kee Tan of Banner, Gordon Vuskusich of Vulcan and many more.

He then joined Clough Engineering in its formative years on Clough's first oil & gas project, the Harriet Oil Field Development. He was given 15 men and 10 weeks to build the facilities on Varanus Island Terminal. It was done, however his mentor had forgotten to tell him that the pipelines had to be straight.

He gained notoriety on this project for the sinking on Bond Petroleum's brand new mini bus especially purchased for the televised opening of the field. At that time channel 9 was part of the Bond Empire.

Things were calming down with the Senior Bond construction representative until one of Tony's Massonettes, as his dedicated team were know, came in and asked where should he put the new outboard engine which had just arrived for the bus.

His contribution to our industry continued with the express construction of the Wesfarmers Kleenheat LPG Gas Extraction Plant in Kwinana.

Another example of his can do approach and indefatigable attitude to meet and exceed any deadline set to him was when he rang the Clough drawing office supervisor and requested a draughtsman to come to site and ‘as built’ a set of foundation bolts as he was going to pour the concrete tomorrow. Problem was that the drawing office had not done these drawings as yet.

His career continued on with Clough through a major gas plant in Bali North in Indonesia and the politically infamous Petro Chemical Plant (PICL) of the late 1980's.

After outgrowing Clough Tony continued to pursue major project opportunities overseas. He became a trouble shooter for Stone & Webster taking on large power station projects that were behind schedule and completing them on time. These were in Western Canada and India.

More recently he joined ABB and was the Construction Director for Sakhalin Island Gas Plant Development in Far East Siberia. This one of the only times that he did not take his loved wife Linda with him. Linda lived in Perth with Tony working in Sakhalin and Houston, commuting to Perth.

This last assignment for ABB in Saudi Arabia was to be his last. Again Linda went with Tony. Tony was due home to Perth in early April, but he extended his stayed again for the sake of the project.

It is so sad that Tony was killed on Saturday May 1st by terrorists as Tony was a man who rewarded any person of any background purely on that person's abilities, irrespective of race, religion, culture.

Tony Mason and The Masonettes will not be able to help build our major projects, but Tony's achievements have touched many people. This was exemplified by the number and varied backgrounds of the people who mustered yesterday to say goodbye to him.

By Arthur Blaquiere

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