Timeline

Timeline-photo.jpg

1935: Albert George Dennis (known as a child as Alby and later as Bert) born on April 12 in Sale, Victoria.

1956: Bert Dennis finishes school at 21 with a Diploma in Civil Engineering, completing 24 engineering subjects at Footscray Tech and 24 at Swinburne. By this time he had gone to 19 different schools. He had several holiday jobs and part-time positions while at school, but his first permanent job is at the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW).

1957: Bert leaves the MMBW and joins Heidelberg City Council as an engineering assistant, even though he is a qualified engineer. While at Heidelberg he determines to become a consulting engineer. To do so he needs to qualify as a municipal engineer, then a shire engineer, deputy city engineer, city engineer and, around the age of 40, finally become a consulting civil engineer. At just 22, Bert becomes acting Deputy City Engineer with the City of Chelsea. Later he will qualify as Deputy City Engineer.

1958: Bert Dennis and Dawn Hicks marry at St Thomas Anglican Church in Moonee Ponds on May 31.

1959: Bert and Dawn’s first child Adele is born on October 7.

1960: At 24, Bert joins retired city engineer, Oscar Flight, in a civil engineering consultancy partnership, which is where he had aspired to be by age 40.  Bert meets Baden Powell, a former shearing contractor, landowner, developer and Werribee character. Their close personal and business relationship will last more than 30 years.

1961: Bert and Dawn’s family expands with the birth of Grant on November 2.

1962: Bert and Dawn start buying and renovating houses.

1963: A third child is born to Bert and Dawn with the arrival of Natalie on October 19.

1965: Bert’s engineering partner, Oscar Flight, retires. Bert and Dawn buy the company which means Bert owns his own consultancy at just 29.

1966: Bert and Dawn completed their family with the birth of fourth child Marshall on February 5.

1968: Bert embarks on his first major land development at Hoppers Crossing with solicitor Charles Plummer and estate agent Hec McLean. They create the partnership Triset Nominees. Bert continues alone after Hec leaves in 1979 and Charles in 1981.

1972: The family begin their first farming operations with a Murray Gray stud at New Gisborne. Bert and Dawn also try investing in commercial property, buying a Brash’s store in Prahran, Treasureway in Bendigo and a warehouse in Bayswater. All three properties are sold some years later.

1981: The company subdivides land on the Hermitage Estate at Werribee. The engineering consultancy continues to grow.

1982: Triline Homes is established and marks the start of home building operations. Bert and Dawn’s children begin their progressive entry into the business. Family buys Quandong, a 7,000-acre farm west of Werribee.

1983: Bert joins the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).

1985: Bert is elected president of UDIA Victoria. He steps down in 1988 but retains close links, becoming a Victorian Life Member and going on to become a National Life Member as well as National President from 1995 to 1997.

1988: The company buys property in Waverley Road, Malvern East, for a new headquarters to become known as Dennis House. Land is purchased at Wyndham Vale in Melbourne’s west which will later be developed as the Manor Lakes estate, the company’s biggest ever project. The company also buys Seabrook Estate at Point Cook for subdivision into 600 lots.

1980s/early 1990s: The company buys land parcels in south-east Queensland. Other estate projects within this era in Victoria include Deloraine and Eynesbury in Hoppers Crossing and Ormond Rise in Hampton Park.

1991: The company establishes Glenbrae Homes, aimed at first home buyers.

1992: The family begin informal planning for a new structure with a mission statement: “To build a long-term, sustainable family business for present and future generations.”

1993: Work starts on the 190-hectare Burnside estate in Melbourne’s west.

1996: The company buys Executive Homes and purchases 148 hectares of land in Hoppers Crossing/Tarneit which becomes the Rose Grange estate.

1998: Separation of family and business board. Noel Waite of Melbourne’s Waite Group is appointed a member of the corporation’s advisory board and as an adviser to the Family Council.

1999: The Dennis Family Corporation is created and incorporated with values to reflect the company’s vision as a family-owned operation: Honesty and Integrity, Passion, Caring, Vision and Quality. Bert becomes founding president of the Australian Population Institute (APop).

2000: Development starts at The Hunt Club in Cranbourne East and at Cedar Valley in Queensland. Bert becomes a Director of the Leukemia Foundation of Victoria.

2001: Rose Grange at Tarneit opens. Family Business Australia presents company with the prestigious Family Business of the Year (2nd Generation) award.

2002: Manor Lakes at Wyndham Vale opens. The Hunt Club wins UDIA Excellence Award for Best Residential Development of 400 lots or more. Bert helps launch Legacy Week with a speech in September and pledges profit of a house sale at Manor Lakes to Legacy. Family presents paper on Dennis Family Corporation structure at Helsinki conference. 

2003: Bert wins the Sir Phillip Lynch Award, the Housing Industry Association’s highest acknowledgement, recognising his outstanding service to the Australian housing industry. The Burnside Shopping Centre opened at the Burnside estate.

2004: Corporation enters joint venture with Zig Inge Group to build retirement villages. The Northquarter estate in Queensland is launched. Rose Grange wins UDIA Excellence Award for Best Residential Development of 250 lots or more. The company’s three housing brands – Triline, Glenbrae and Executive Homes – are consolidated to become Dennis Family Homes.

2005: Bert receives the Order of Australia Medal for his services to the land and housing industries, to the community through contributing to debate on urban planning, and for his support of charitable organisations. Grant Dennis becomes UDIA National President. Construction commenced on Manor Lakes Central Shopping Centre. Work also commenced at Morningside, a boutique development in Gisborne, north of Melbourne.

2006: The Hunt Club became the first residential community in Victoria to directly supply residents’ homes with Class A recycled water for use in non-drinking applications. The Hunt Club won the UDIA (Vic) Environmental Excellence Award for that year. Manor Lakes Central Shopping Centre opens.

2007: Hunters Green Retirement Village at The Hunt Club opens. Morningside at Gisborne wins the UDIA Victoria Judges’ Landscaping Award. The Generations Series by Dennis Family Homes was launched.

2008: Bert becomes inaugural Chairman of the Victorian Property Industry Foundation. The Hunt Club Wetlands at The Hunt Club were officially opened. The Baden Powell Prep–9 College at Rose Grange opened. The Aspirations Series from Dennis Family Homes was launched.

2009: Jump Living, providing newly completed homes, was launched. Rose Grange Retirement Village opens. Family attend Family Business Association conference in Seoul. Two schools open at Manor Lakes – Manor Lakes P-12 College and Our Lady of the Southern Cross Catholic Primary School. Dennis Family Homes introduced the new Generations Series as well as expanding the Aspirations Series of homes.

2010: Bert Dennis is presented with the Richard J. Evans Award by the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association (VPELA) for his contribution to the industry for at least 20 years. Bert celebrates 50 years in the development and building industry with a function at Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel. State Treasurer John Lenders congratulates Bert and his family. Guests include football legend Ron Barassi along with some 300 business associates and industry leaders.

Other highlights of 2010 include:

  • Dennis Family Corporation enters into an agreement with the Hatia Property Corporation to project manage the development of two residential land estates in Queensland, south of Brisbane – Huntington Rise at Maudsland and Pioneer Valley at Kuraby.
  • Construction at Huntington Rise commences.
  • Construction commences on the Northquarter Place townhouse development in Queensland at Murrumba Downs, north of Brisbane.
  • Final lot is sold at Morningside estate in Gisborne.
  • Manor Lakes Display Village opens.
  • Dennis Family Homes is named as Victoria’s fourth largest residential builder for 2009/10 in the HIA-Colorbond Steel Housing 100 Report.
  • The first sod is turned at a commercial site in Burnside for the construction of one of Australia’s first Masters home improvement stores.

2011: Cranbourne East Primary School and Cranbourne East Secondary College open at The Hunt Club estate. Wyndham Vale Community Learning Centre opens at Manor Lakes.

Other highlights of 2011 include:

  • Grant Dennis awarded with National Life Membership of the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
  • First residents move into Northquarter Place townhouse development at Murrumba Downs.
  • Final lot is sold at Rose Grange estate in Tarneit.
  • Masters home improvement store opens at Burnside, becoming the chain’s seventh facility operating in Australia and second in Victoria.
  • Dennis Family Homes introduces 17 new designs across the Generations Series and Aspirations Series throughout the year.

2012: Victorian Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, announces the approval of the Manor Lakes precinct Structure Plan on June 13, allowing for the development of the entire western balance of the estate over the next 20 years which will provide approximately 4,850 new homes. Work commences on the section of the Regional Rail Link connecting Deer Park to West Werribee which will directly service Manor Lakes when completed. The City of Casey Council approves a permit for the development of Stage One of a local shopping centre at The Hunt Club.

Other highlights of 2012 include:

  • Dennis Family Homes introduces the 2012 Series of homes.
  • The Dennis Family Corporation is appointed to Places Victoria’s Growth Areas Delivery Partner Panel.
  • Construction begins at the Pioneer Valley estate at Kuraby in Queensland.
  • Bert is one of three invited guest speakers at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Property Forum in Melbourne in October.
  • In October, Bert and grand-daughter Zoe launch Stage Two of the Rose Grange Retirement Village.
  • The Master Builders Association of Victoria judges the Brookdale 271 showcased by Dennis Family Homes in Shepparton as the Best Volume Builder Display Home in the $200,000 - $300,000 price range at its North East Regional Building Awards.
  • Dennis Family Homes constructs a home in Braybrook in Melbourne for the Victorian Homeless Fund.

2013:

  • Dennis Family Corporation launches Modeina, an infill site which utilise the last available land parcel in Burnside in Melbourne’s west.
  • The Dennis family celebrates 10 years of home building presence in Echuca.
  • Dennis Family Homes: 
    • launches the Inspirations series to supersede the 2012 series
    • creates an international extension to its in-house production division by aligning with Vietnam-based company, Platinum Global.
    • expands the designs for the duplex/dual occupancy products and the Inspirations series, including the inclusion of two rural style designs. 
    • wins ‘Best Volume Builder Display Home $200,000 - $300,000’ for the Lakewood 282 in Warragul at the Master Builders Association of Victoria’s Regional Building Awards (South East, Gippsland).
    • becomes one of four builders of choice for the Mooroopna West Growth Corridor Project, a Building Better Regional Cities program.

2014:

  • Dennis Family Homes adds three new products to its Aspirations series.
  • In Manor Lakes, Dennis Family Corporation releases a new residential precinct, Lollipop Hill, and commences a major landscaping and beautification project pertaining to the main lake.
  • The first residents move into Modeina.
  • Stage two of the Huntington Rise residential development at Maudsland in Queensland is launched.
  • Construction commences at the Hunt Club Village Shopping Centre.

2015:

  • Bert Dennis reaches 55 years in business.
  • Dennis Family Corporation comences sales at Ashbury in the Armstrong Creek urban growth area and Westbrook in Truganina.
  • Sales office at The Hunt Club closes as the estate reaches maturity.
  • Dennis Family Corporation’s retail and commercial developments division becomes known as Ranfurlie Developments and moves to new premises in Glenferrie Road, Malvern.
  • Ranfurlie Developments opens the Hunt Club Village Shopping Centre in Cranbourne East.
  • Dennis Family Homes completes a $1.2m housing project in Bendigo for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Civil construction works commence at Westbrook.
  • At the Housing Industry Association’s Western Region Housing Awards, the Alexandra 242 in Ballarat is judged the winner of the $250,001 – $300,000 price category.
  • The Charlton 332 wins the Housing Industry Association’s ACT and Southern NSW Display Home Award.
  • Dennis Family Homes wins at the Master Builders Association of Victoria’s Regional Building Awards:
    • North East – ‘Best Volume Builder Display Home $300,000 - $400,000’ for the Mortlake 292 in Shepparton,
    • Southern Central Region – ‘Best Exhibition/Project Home $350,001 - $450,000’ for the Charlton 332 in Wagga Wagga, and 
    • North West – ‘Best Volume Builder Display Home over $400,000’ for the Cosgrove 312 in Bendigo.

2016:

  • Burnside Children’s and Community Centre opens at Modeina.
  • Manor Lakes is given official recognition as a suburb in its own right, separate from Wyndham Vale.
  • Dennis Family Homes introduces the Inspirations 2016 series.
  • Dennis Family Corporation launches Ashbury with a sod-turning ceremony to mark the commencement of civil construction.
  • Dennis Family Corporation launches sales at the Summerlin medium density development project in the Brisbane suburb of Banyo.
  • Ranfurlie Developments commences construction of the 25,000sqm Tarneit Central Shopping Centre.