Rocking the hub in Surfers Paradise

In 1971, the first Hard Rock Café opened in London and sent a wave of hype around the world. Since then, more than 200 Hard Rock locations have opened their doors around the globe and more than 170 of the iconic brandʼs cafés, resorts and casinos remain open for business today. One branch in Queensland, Australia, was recently closed – accompanied by a Liebherr all-terrain crane.

The LTM 1060-3.1 lifts the Les Paul guitar from the roof of the Hard Rock Café.
The LTM 1060-3.1 lifts the Les Paul guitar from the roof of the Hard Rock Café.

Joe Cocker, Alice Cooper, Sting, Pink and the Beach Boys are just a few of the musical greats who have performed at the Hard Rock Café Surfers Paradise in the city of Gold Coast since it opened in 1996. For 27 years, a unique landmark – a giant orange and red Les Paul guitar – was emblazoned over the building and attracted thousands of fans to the venue. However, the caféʼs closure meant that the giant guitar had to find a new home. This resulted in a lifting operation that brought Gold Coast to a standstill.

The contract for this “heavy metal” crane job went to Borger Cranes and Precision Rigging & Logistics. According to Logan Alexander, operations manager at Borger Cranes, the lift was not without risks, including the siteʼs close proximity to large retailers. In addition, a number of unforeseen factors cropped up during the preparations for the job. With no drawings of the guitarʼs structure available, the industrial service provider Field Engineers was brought in to assess it. To further complicate matters, a large supermarket and tram lines are located only a few metres from the café. “Because of the many risks involved, we were using smaller cranes in our fleet with our Liebherr LTM 1060-3.1 and Franna MAC25-4SL,” says Alexander.

Let the show begin

In preparation for the lift, the tram lineʼs rails were isolated and two residential blocks in Surfers Paradise were cordoned off. This enabled Borger Cranes to position the cranes perfectly and carry out the lift smoothly. “This lift really took some planning – something that Luke Williams, Director of Precision Rigging & Logistics and myself are used to,” says Alexander with satisfaction after the fivehour job.

14.6 metres long, weighing 3.6 tonnes and installed at a height of approx. six metres: based on this key data, Borger Cranes used the LTM 1060-3.1 with its main boom and 12.8 tonnes of counterweight. “We picked the guitar at a radius of nine metres and landed it at 16 metres,” explains Alexander. To bring the load from the vertical to the horizontal, the Franna crane was also hooked onto the lower end of the guitar. During a tandem lift, it supported the LTM 1060-3.1 while the oversized instrument was loaded onto the transporter.

Rockʼnʼroll never dies…

... and the inhabitants of Gold Coast will no doubt remember the musical landmark of Surfers Paradise for a long time to come. The guitarʼs future remains unclear yet – for now, however, it is in temporary storage and will perhaps experience a revival at another location.

This article was published in the UpLoad magazine 02 | 2023.

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