Wagga Wagga Firewood Business Heats Up With Isuzu Trucks

Wagga Wagga Firewood Business Heats Up With Isuzu Trucks

It takes a certain level of drive to enter the workforce fresh out of high school with a plan to set up your own business venture. 

Xavier Phyland set himself the ambitious goal of launching a successful start-up business soon after completing high school.  

The 22-year-old had been working as a farm hand, and while he enjoyed the company of his employers and learnt a lot from their guidance, the hours were less than steady.   

After assessing the businesses and industry landscape of his hometown of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Xavier soon hit upon a solid business idea. 

Co-Owner-Operator of First Class Firewood Xavier Phyland
Co-Owner-Operator of First Class Firewood Xavier Phyland

He noticed there wasn’t much in the way of the procurement and processing of firewood in the area, but there was a lot of lumber on local farms and properties. Xavier put two and two together and First Class Firewood was born in 2019. 

“A lot of people don’t realise that firewood is a year-round job because it takes 18 months for some varieties of wood to reach the correct conditions to be burnt,” Xavier said.  

“You need to be processing and cutting wood all year long and taking it through the different preparation stages before it can be bagged and sent off to its destination.”  

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The Wood Shop

“First Class Firewood services the Riverina, which stretches as far as Deniliquin down to Albury out to Junee, and then out to West Wyalong,” said Xavier, now owner-operator of the business he shares with his father Paul.  

“I had spare time as I was working part-time in the quiet season and then I was seven days a week in the harvest,” he said. “Those quiet times allowed me to do a bit of study but to also let me jump into firewood.”  

“The mechanical knowledge I gained from working as a farm hand is put to use today with First Class Firewood.”  

When Xavier started out, First Class delivered bulk firewood to local houses around Wagga. Then Xavier scored a client that led to supplying 2000-plus service stations around the Riverina with bagged firewood.  

It was a big leap forward for the business, but that was just the beginning. Demand for deliveries to local homes, neighbours and service stations exploded during the pandemic.  

First Class Firewood's Isuzu NLR 45-150 Traypack
First Class Firewood's Isuzu NLR 45-150 Traypack

Revving Things Up 

“When the business grew and we needed a truck for our delivery of firewood and kindling bags in the Riverina, the obvious thing was to go to John Beattie at Wagga Motors and talk to him about our needs.  

“We wanted to carry as much weight as possible but stay within the car licence range so that it was easier for our staff to drive.  

“That’s when John introduced us to the NLR 45-150 Traypack.” 

“John had helped us pick our IPS genset and he was excellent with explaining everything and offering advice. The genset powers our log docking saw, firewood splitter and kindling machine. Without it the mill would grind to a halt.” 

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With a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4,500 kilograms and a gross combined mass (GCM) of 8,000 kilograms, First Class Firewood’s new NLR 45-150 Traypack means the team don’t have to worry about overloading when chucking bagged wood and kindling into the tray for delivery through the Riverina.  

Because the Traypack can be driven on a standard car licence, no team member has had to upgrade to a heavy vehicle license - yet. 

Powered with an unbeatable Isuzu 4JJ1-TCS engine, the NLR 45-150 has 110 kW (150PS) of power @ 2,800 rpm and 375 Nm of torque @ 1,600 - 2,800 rpm keeping the First Class Firewood deliveries going. 

Xavier's father and Co-Owner-Operator of First Class Firewood, Paul Phyland
Xavier's father and Co-Owner-Operator of First Class Firewood, Paul Phyland

Booming Busines

In 2020 and 2021, home heating became a priority for many families in the region, with so many people working or studying from home.  

“The last two years have seen things really ramp up for us here at First Class Firewood so much so that we've received contracts for milling and for supplying restaurants with ironbark wood for specific cooking styles,” Xavier said.  

“Eighteen months ago was the turning point for us when the pace really picked up. While we still deliver bagged wood throughout the Riverina, we now supply bagged firewood throughout New South Wales, Canberra and Victoria. Plus, there’s also the kindling for restaurants and the heavy-duty pallets.” 

From left to right: Paul Phyland and Xavier Phyland
From left to right: Paul Phyland and Xavier Phyland

The boom in business led Xavier and Paul to upgrade their old generator in mid-2022. The duo selected an Isuzu Power Solutions’ GS020PTY generator set under the advice of John Beattie from Wagga Motors.  

The GS020PTY gen set improved business through lower noise pollution, and fantastic fuel economy. 

The First Class Firewood Isuzu Power Solutions GS020PTY generator set
The First Class Firewood Isuzu Power Solutions GS020PTY generator set

Power Play 

First Class Firewood purchased a mill outside Wagga Wagga in early 2021 with space to spread out, store more product and increase production on the heavy-duty wooden pallets that came in demand during the pandemic.  

It seems like good things are on the rise for Xavier and Paul at First Class Firewood, from selecting a mill for their business, to upgrading their gen set and now securing an NLR 45-150 Traypack that is standing up to the hard work of delivery and life at the mill. 

“I have been really impressed with the knowledge and the support from John and Wagga Motors,” Xavier said.  

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“The advice we were able to get with our genset lead us to buying our first light-duty Isuzu truck. After such a positive experience with our IPS generator there was no way that we were looking elsewhere. 

“When First Class Firewood is ready to expand, I know we will continue with Isuzu, and start looking into a small fleet and larger Isuzu trucks. 

“Between the fantastic support from John at Wagga Motors, and the Isuzu reliability, First Class Firewood is looking forward to the challenges and growth of the year ahead because we know they have our back,” Xavier said. 

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Sam Gangemi Marketing and Advertising Manager, Isuzu Australia Limited
Arkajon Communications Public Relations Agency




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