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Equipment focus: Why Matthews Quarries digs Volvo

Matthews has been a name synonymous with quarrying in Victoria’s Gippsland region for well over half a century. The remarkable story started with Keith Matthews working at the quarry for a short stint in the early 1950s before it was closed in 1952.

He later purchased it in 1980 and reopened it with his sons, Rob and Graeme. Their start-up plant included a Chamberlain backhoe and two Volvo tippers, which started a long-term relationship with Volvo.

Today, Matthews Quarries is considered the most modern in the region, with an equipment fleet that includes five Volvo A35 and A40 haulers, as well as a 1995-vintage BM35. There are also five excavators, including Volvo EC700 and EC480D models; a Volvo MC105C skid steer; three loaders, including a Volvo L250G; nine trucks, eight of which are Volvos; and a dozer and two graders.

Employing 26 staff, the quarry produces A-grade aggregates, averaging about 300,000 tonnes a year. It has a capability of 500,000 tonnes annually. The aggregates are supplied from Mornington Peninsula to the New South Wales border and within a 200km radius of the quarry.

Its materials have been used in road works throughout Victoria by companies including Fulton Hogan, RDS, Cranes, Gippsland Asphalt and Vic Roads, as well as by various shires.

In 2007 in a joint venture with Blackwood, the family acquired a 50 per cent stake in La Trobe Valley Sands. This site has five machines, including Volvo A35 and A40 haulers and a L180G loader. In addition, in another joint venture with Blackwood earlier in 2003, the family opened Sale Mixed Concrete in an effort to enhance the supply of the quarry’s materials.

Rob runs the mobile plant, Graeme manages the transport side of the business, which also uses predominantly Volvo trucks, and their sister, Sharyn, manages the administration.

Rob says the long-term relationship with Volvo has been built on a number of key strengths — performance, efficiency, productivity and good resale value: “You can be confident that you can put the key in, start them and go to work. Volvos are reliable and efficient machines that come at a competitive price.”

He singles out the Volvo L250G front-end loader, which he says saves 100 litres of fuel a day compared with other loaders and provides 3 to 4 tonnes extra production per load.

Rob says that, prior to acquiring the Volvo EC700 excavator, it used to take seven minutes and 30 seconds to load. The EC700 has halved that, providing a major shot in the arm for production.

Loader operator Andrew says the operator training provided by Volvo Construction Equipment’s national distributor, CJD Equipment, has been invaluable to help maximise output from the machines.

He is also impressed with the operator comfort offered by the Volvos, saying the A40 hauler “is the most comfortable machine I have driven”.


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