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One of the Northern Territory’s oldest electrical, refrigeration and building firms has expanded to cover the whole of a jurisdiction twice the size of Texas.

T&J was established by Tony and Jean Civitarese in Tennant Creek in 1987 – with Jean in the office and Tony on the tools. The company now employs about 30-40 staff and has opened a smart office in Darwin Business Park.

“We were covering nearly the whole of the Territory and opened in Darwin so that we can do more Top End work,” says Tony.

The company has a good reputation in the industry, especially for working in remote communities and training Territorians as apprentices.

T&J is a highly-successful family affair – Tony and Jean are directors, their children Kris, Nick and Alana are senior managers and Alana’s husband Nathan Meersman is the service manager.

The business at first specialised in a comprehensive range of commercial and domestic electrical, refrigeration, and air-conditioning work. It then branched into general building and maintenance work, and now employs a full-time construction manager and a team of carpenters.

The team has completed many building projects, including upgrading 45 houses in Alpurrurulam, formerly Lake Nash, 570 kilometres east of Tennant Creek on the Queensland border.

The company’s services include:

• Refrigeration and air-conditioning systems

• Commercial and domestic electrical

• Building and construction

• Domestic and commercial property maintenance

• Service and maintenance to homelands

• Fleet and machinery servicing

• Generator installs and servicing

T&J has trained more than 40 apprentices over the years, including several multi-generation apprentices. The company’s first apprentice, Richard Forge, installed the refrigeration system of Tennant Creek’s supermarket with Tony 35 years ago – the refrigeration contract was the company’s first major job and took it to another level.

Last year saw Tony’s son Nicholas and Richard’s son Thomas work together on the new refrigeration system as part of rebuilding the supermarket after it was damaged in an arson attack. T&J takes the huge logistical challenges of working in the Outback in their stride.

“Doing remote work is second nature to us now,” says Nick. “We’ve done it for so long and so often.”

Alana says there are many risks in remote work that require careful planning and risk mitigation.

“If supplies don’t arrive on time you can have staff sitting around unable to work,” she says. “One thing going wrong can have a domino effect. This is something that we plan for so we can overcome these challenges.”

A job at Robinson River, 800 kilometres east of Katherine, was particularly challenging because it was carried out during the wet season.

Equipment was at first brought in by containers, but later both supplies and staff had to be flown in by plane and helicopter.

Staff worked in 40 degree heat and energy-sapping humidity.

“But we got the job done,” says Kris.

“Our philosophy is simple – make it happen.”



08 8962 3073

Darwin Office

2/15 Miles Road,

PO Box 87, Berrimah, NT 0828

Tennant Creek Office

187 Paterson Street, PO Box 1128

Tennant Creek, NT 0860