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Kev Wilkinson knows what good relationships mean for business.

After working offshore for six years, he wanted to spend more time with family. That led him to start a small business from his shed at home in Palmerston in 2008.

From there, Wilkinson Engineering grew from the ground up, drawing on odd jobs that came through friends, family and word of mouth.

Supporting locals is something Kev is still committed to today and he says it’s critical to the success of his business.

“We’ll help anyone out. It’s always been that way. It’s the bread-and-butter clients who get you there – the locals. We are also thankful and lucky to have the opportunity to work with the larger multinationals as well.”

Back in the early days, Wilkinson Engineering employed Kev and his brother Wayne. Things progressed quickly and soon Kev was bringing on more staff and employing apprentices. Employing and training locals has always been his passion.

“Today, we have five apprentices. Training apprentices to be quality tradesmen is number one.

“The breadth of what they’re exposed to is unique to our business. We are the only Darwin-based business where our staff can learn how to program and operate precision Computer Numerical Control Machining Equipment.”

CNC is robotic manufacturing equipment that has revolutionised engineering globally.

For Kev, it presents an opportunity to define Wilkinson Engineering as a leading engineering business in the Territory.

It was through chance and circumstance that he learnt about CNC.

About five years into his business, Kev met with a machinist named Mario who had been running his own engineering company in Darwin, and both men saw an opportunity. Mario – who had the vision of passing on his legacy – introduced CNC technology to Kev.


Weeks later, Kev welcomed his newly purchased CNC machine to his shed with absolutely no idea how to use it. It was a transformative time for Kev who consequently taught himself how to use the equipment, and now provides that same training for workers.

What’s next on the horizon?

Kev has invested in laser profiling equipment, which can laser cut plate up to 32mm thick with high accuracy and speed.

A state-of-the-art laser cladding machine, which runs on a five-axis robot, using laser technology to fuse powdered metal to create high–quality coatings, will be used for component reclamation, weld overlays and even 3D metal printing.

A high-end metrology grade laser scanner is a hand-held mobile unit capable of laser scanning components to an accuracy of 0.02mm.

Kev says that the heart of his business is providing a quality service to everyone who walks in the door and never judging where a person comes from.

He says that a man once arrived in shorts, a singlet and thongs, needing a small agricultural job done. It was a small job, but Kev prides himself on doing a quality job for anyone and everyone.

After delivering the job, Kev came to learn that the unassuming character was the maintenance supervisor for a liquid helium plant. That one small job resulted in around 12 years of work for Wilkinson Engineering.

Today, Wilkinson Engineering supports global companies such as INPEX Australia, operator of the Ichthys LNG energy development, through to local farmers – and everyone in between.

For Kev, the company has come full circle. It’s important to keep supporting the bread-and-butter clients who helped get him where he is today. But the sky’s the limit for Wilkinson Engineering.

Kev thanks his wife Amber who has been there and supported him throughout the journey.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support from my wife. She has been there for me from start to finish and the success of the business is also due to her hard work behind the scenes.

“Not to mention the great group of people I have worked with along the way. The success of the business is also their success.

“There are huge opportunities in the Territory. Anyone who wants to put the work in will get there.”


Wilkinson Engineering

49 McKinnon Road, Pinelands