Head west out of Brisbane to Toowoomba and when you get there keep going another 246kms and you get to Goondiwindi. Goondiwindi is an Aboriginal word that means ‘the resting place of birds’ and currently boasts a population of just under 6,000 (humans). The town is right in the heart of farming country and, as you might expect, gets pretty hot in summer (over 34C) and pretty cool in winter (6C).
Every February the town transforms as triathletes descend on Goondiwindi for the Hell of the West race – a 2km swim, 80km bike ride and 20km run. The official website describes the race as ‘not for the faint hearted… in the murky waters of the Macintyre River and the blazing heat of the Goondiwindi summer’.
Greg Lynn and his family have been running the Elite Carpet Cleaning franchise in Goondiwindi for nearly twenty years, setting out their shingle in 1994. Their office covers a huge area, ‘half the size of Tasmania’, out to St George, Texas and Moree, and it takes two hours to drive from one side of their coverage area to the other.
Elite Goondiwindi, as you might expect in a country town location, does a huge variety of work for all sorts of different customers, from schools and teacher housing to hospitals and restaurants, to bond cleaning work for real estate agents and everything in between. As well as carpet cleaning, they take on tile cleaning and upholstery cleaning (including car upholstery), plus pest control, and operate an emergency callout service 24/7.
“In the last twenty years we’ve had regular customers we’ve worked with for the entire time, but we’ve also seen some changes.” says Greg. “The newer houses are a fair bit larger than the older ones. Bigger houses means more rooms… and more carpet to clean. Even though we might be out in the sticks, we still keep up with carpet cleaning techniques and equipment, and from a technology perspective we have the absolute latest at our disposal – just as good if not better than that available in the city.”
A country location brings with it a different set of risks and rewards to city life. The biggest hazard for Greg and his team is – kangaroos. There is a large population in and around their coverage area and in the current drought conditions they are active during the day as well as at night looking for food and water. Hitting a kangaroo in a vehicle is a constant risk, particularly when travelling at dusk or dawn.
The upside of the rural location is Greg’s ability to indulge his favourite hobby – astronomy. He is the proud owner of several telescopes, including a huge 16 inch telescope with a glass mirror that weighs 30kg. You have to climb a stepladder to use it, but, with the dark skies in Goondiwindi unaffected by the light pollution that makes stargazing difficult in major metro areas, it’s a perfect spot to go hunting for planets, stars, meteor showers and galaxies. He’s even spotted the polar caps on Mars – all from his back yard.