South Africa and Australia have plenty in common, and much is rooted in the 4WD industry. Both countries have innovators who have changed 4×4’ing on our own soil, and internationally. One of these innovative companies is Dobinsons Spring & Suspension, which grew from a backyard repair shop into an Australian success story. Since N1 4×4 is the sole importer of the Australian brand Dobinsons suspension in South Africa, we thought it would be good to tell you more about the Dobinson legacy.
Blacksmith Reginald Patrickson (Reg) Dobinson was born in 1929 and worked at the Queensland Railway where soon he became known for his spring repair and manufacturing skills. Between the 1940s and early 1950’s, he took on further weekend work for friends, repairing springs. The young Reg’s work was of high quality, he paid full attention to detail, and passionately spent all of his spare time working. In 1953 (at the age of 24), the work became too much for him to handle on his own, and he founded ‘Dobinsons Welding Works’ (now known as ‘Dobinsons Spring and Suspension’) in the backyard of his home in the town of Rockhampton, Queensland. Reg was still working up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week without taking leave for years.
Reg was ahead of his time, and not afraid of new technology, so in the mid 60’s he took the bold step to improve efficiency by purchasing (what is said to be) the first computer in Central Queensland. He was an innovator in his own right, and designed, engineered, and manufactured a leaf spring eye roller, using the manufactured parts and hydraulics from former warplanes.
His two sons Glen and Keith joined the family business in the 70s and Dobinsons began to distribute products throughout Australia. In the mid-1980’s Dobinsons exported their first order and soon expanded exports to 50 countries. Keep in mind that this was before the Internet existed, orders had to be placed via the local post office, and distributors could only be located by “letting their fingers do the walking” in international phone directories.
In 1991 the company relocated to its current location in Rockhampton, and when Reg retired in 1994, he knew that his sons had all the knowledge and hands-on experience to keep the standards of the company high. In the mid 90’s they had the vision to design and build an entire coil spring manufacturing line and soon after the company began designing, developing, and distributing their range of 4×4 shock absorbers. The 4×4 market was an ideal place for Dobinsons to expand to, and in 2009 they started to research, develop and test their new range of 4×4 accessory products.
Founder Reg Dobinson passed away on 30th September 2018 at the age of 89, leaving behind a thriving company and a legacy of success that came from hard work, family commitment, and perseverance. Three generations after the humble beginnings, their Dobinsons’ Rockhampton production and warehousing facility has expanded to over 5574 m2, they have several warehousing and distribution facilities across Australia, and distributors in over 50 countries worldwide. N1 4×4 is the sole importer of Dobinsons Suspension, and one of South Africa’s biggest suppliers of new, used & reconditioned parts for Cruisers and Toyota 4WD’S.
Our online shop will soon be open for your convenience, so watch this space: https://n14x4.co.za/