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16 YEARS ON & GOING STRONG: LESLIEVALE LANDSCAPE & GRAVEL SUPPLIES 

When it comes to the origin stories of home-grown Aussie businesses, Paul Kelly’s famous lyrics “From little things, big things grow” often spring to mind.

Husband and wife team Paul and Denise Harriss are local operators with a tale that can be sung to this classic tune.

They now own Leslievale Landscape & Gravel Supplies, but like many, Paul and Denise’s story started small, in a quarry just south-west of Hobart in Leslie Vale where Paul was a truck driver for construction and transport company Hazell Bros.

This particular quarry is large enough to produce over one million tonnes of crushed dolerite per annum, alongside various other aggregate materials such as white rock.

Paul spent plenty of hours for Hazell Bros transporting rock from the quarry and onwards to projects off site, initially as an employee and then as a subcontractor. After a few years spent weaving through quarry traffic, from fellow trucks to excavators and external visitors picking up materials, Paul started to formulate a plan to improve safety on site for all involved.

He envisioned a purpose-built landscaping materials facility—situated in front of the quarry—which would eliminate casual visitors entering the quarry actual.

“There was a recognition from all parties that having small vehicles running in around the big machines was a potential OH&S issue,” said Paul.

“I think Hazell Bros definitely saw value in my proposal and hence the landscape yard began!”

In 2004, the green light was on for Paul and Denise to launch Leslievale Landscape & Gravel Supplies (LLGS) prompting a close, ongoing partnership with the quarry and Hazell Bros that continues today.

In Paul’s words, it was a “small beginning” and the business moved with the seasons: in the warmer months demand picked up as customers launched into renovation projects and then cooled off during winter.

But cold certainly doesn’t mean dormant. Paul saw a golden opportunity in Tassie’s freezing winter climate—supplying firewood to nearby residents.

Helped a little by the fact that Tasmanians are the greatest consumers of firewood in Australia, using approximately 5.8 tonnes per household, per year, Paul successfully took this new venture to market, using wood taken from sustainable local plantations.

LLGS is now one of the largest suppliers of firewood in the southern part of Tasmania.

Carting loads of firewood and other materials that weighed anywhere between one to six tonnes a load, Paul began to struggle with trucks that couldn’t deliver returns on performance or payload.

Paul remembered, “We started off with the two-tonner but quickly moved on to a 4.5 tonne truck, but still weren’t happy with it.

“We initially picked these trucks because of the price, and we were a fresh little business, but it really backfired for us in the end.

“I went searching for a better truck with Isuzu and really haven’t looked back since getting our first FRR 500.”

Paul went on to purchase three Isuzu FRR 500 Tippers (FRR 107-210 Tipper) two NQR 450 Tippers (NQR 87-190 AMT Tipper) and his latest acquisition, an NMR 60-150 AMT Tipper.

Opting for Isuzu’s 6,000 kg GVM and 9,500 kg GCM option over a 4,500 kg GVM model for bigger payload at a nimble size, Paul said his NMR Tipper is the perfect truck to cart big loads around semi off-road tracks and cluttered yards.

“Down south, we deal with a lot of challenging sites where people think we can get a truck in where they can get their minibike…” Paul recalled ruefully.

“Lots of gravel roads, and we probably spend 50 per cent of our driving time uphill. Our Isuzu trucks perform well, especially in terms of their ability to grip the road while carrying a load.”

The new NMR AMT Tipper has become an everyday favourite for Paul, who finds pleasure in its manoeuvrability and cabin comfort.

“I love the little NMR 60-150, it’s just a comfortable truck to drive. We can zip about with it, even when it’s got two or three tonnes in the back.

“We might have 10.5 tonnes on the road—truck included—and it drives more like a car than it does a truck.”

The trucks themselves haven’t been the only easy part of joining the Isuzu family for Leslievale Landscape & Gravel Supplies.

Their local dealership, Webster Trucks Isuzu, takes care of all their servicing and aftercare needs, and also take a keen interest in ensuring Paul has everything required to keep delivering to his customers.

“Once you start dealing with a company and they know where you’re at, who you are and your business, everything flows a bit easier,” Paul said.

“We’ve dealt with the same people at the dealership pretty much the whole way through, it’s made everything very simple for us.

“The only thing that’s really changed is when the workshop manager at Websters came to work for us, driving trucks!”

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