GROWING BUSINESS ALL IN THE FAMILY | TRANSPORT NEWS

When Seth Irwin fired up the family’s new Komatsu PC130 excavator and drove it across the works yard there were cheers from four generations of his family.

Seth is seven. “It’s the easiest machine I’ve ever driven,” Seth’s dad Rhys, 32, beamed. “A child can drive it.”

Geelong’s Irwin family has been in the tree lopping and demolition business for 56 years.

Seth and his three-and-a-half-year old brother Levi are the succession hope for a business which is growing even faster than the family.

Irwin Tree Removal has become one of the most in-demand demolition operators in the greater Melbourne area, and they do it as a family. Of the seventeen people on the payroll, eight are Irwins.

Rhys’s dad Wayne and Uncle Mark still actively drive along with Rhys. His grandfather Graeme,78, who started the business, is eagerly on call. Rhys’s mother Janet and wife Trista run administration and his sister Sarah is the company’s job estimator. 

Grandmother Lynette, who was a hands-on tree lopper with Graeme half a century ago is still available for advice and, these days, lighter duties.

The Irwins anchor their business with three Komatsu excavators – two PC 130s and a larger PC220, supported by a range of skid steer loader, trucks, smaller excavators, mulchers, stump grinders, cherry pickers and floats.

The latest PC 130, just purchased, has been purpose built for the task – a longer dipper arm for extended reach, an all-round bang rail for protection and a front window cage and roof cover for safety.

A heavy-duty Embrey HDR100 grapple, fitted by Komatsu, provides additional strength for the unusual and difficult jobs which have become the Irwins’ specialty.

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