Forklift boosts wool business

Gordon Litchfield Wool

A rural New South Wales-based wool broker has used the legendary reliability and durability of Toyota forklifts to grow its business over the course of nearly 30 years.

Gordon Litchfield Wool, based in both Cooma and Yass, provides wool brokering services to sheep farmers both large and small, and uses a fleet of eight Toyota forklifts to transport and store wool bales, sourced from distributor Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA).

The company has used Toyota forklifts for the majority of its existence, first purchasing a 6-Series forklift back in the 1990s and since adding 7- and 8-Series as the business grew.

Owner Gordon Litchfield says his relationship with Toyota forklifts started early in the business’s life and has only become stronger as time goes by.

“Very early we bought our first Toyota when we moved to our current store in Cooma; we needed extra forks, so we bought a new Toyota fork,” Gordon says. 

“After using it we sold our other one straight away and bought a used Toyota fork. We had one or two in the first few years, but we cottoned on to Toyota very early in the piece.”

A testament to the build quality of Toyota forklift products, the first 6-Series forklift purchased by Gordon Litchfield Wool is still being used by the company almost 30 years later.

Gordon says that despite buying a new Toyota forklift every few years, if the current fleet is still performing to standards then he doesn’t see the need to replace them.

“We’ve still got one of the originals – I think it was actually the first one we ever bought,” he says. “It has been such a great fork; we’ve got it here as a backup. 

“It’s been a magnificent machine; I think we put a new head gasket on it a few years ago and just said, ‘Let’s keep it’.”

Gordon Litchfield Wool recently took delivery of a new 32-8FG25 LPG forklift, which like all other forks on his fleet has been fitted with a wool grab, allowing easy transportation of multiple large wool bales.

Gordon says the durability and reliability of Toyota products were big reasons for him developing an exclusive relationship with TMHA, however there were also other factors that played a part.

As a wool broker, he spends significant amounts of time in large wool stores, where Toyota forklifts can be found in abundance.

Gordon Litchfield Wool has used Toyota forklifts for most of its existence.
Gordon Litchfield Wool has used Toyota forklifts for most of its existence.

“I really like the build quality and reliability; they are just a better machine to use,” he says.

“And I did my homework elsewhere – they were very popular at other wool stores. I looked at the big wool stores in Sydney, the bigger brokers at the time and what they were doing, I just noticed that the Toyotas seemed to be very commonplace, and I’m a fair fan of the quality of Toyota, having come from the bush.”

The volatility and inconsistency of the wool industry means a huge amount of wool may need to be moved at any given time, meaning the reliability of the forklifts is paramount to a wool business’s success.

“I don’t find them overly complicated,” Gordon says. “They’re well-made and I’ve never had any major problems, they’re easy to work on for servicing, things like that. And we’ve never had any major reliability problems.”

Having bought Toyota models over the course of nearly 30 years, Gordon has also seen the evolution of Toyota safety technologies that ensure the best possible protection for occupants. 

Strong safety credentials are important to the company, and Gordon has been pleased with the Toyota System of Active Stability (SAS) safety system.

“I’ve always been impressed that as each model has improved, the safety requirements have really kept up to date really well,” he says. 

With such strong brand loyalty, Gordon Litchfield Wool has developed a prosperous relationship with the local TMHA branch led by Area Sales Manager Mark Elvins.

“I don’t shop around, simple as that,” Gordon says. “I just ring Mark and say, ‘I need another forklift’, to put it bluntly.

“Mark understands our business very well. And regularly drops in when he’s in the area, keeps me up to date when there’s a good deal on. He’s my forklift man and that’s it.”

Gordon says he has spoken highly of Mark to other local businesses in the area, thanks to both the service provided and the performance of the products.

“I’ve recommended Mark and his group to several others in the area,” he says. “He keeps me up to date with things, drops in regularly, he’s a hell of a nice bloke.

“It’s a side of our business that isn’t complicated. We can be really busy at times; our business is seasonal, and we have to move a lot of wool at times, and that’s one thing we don’t have problems with.”

Gordon and his wife Kate started Gordon Litchfield Wool in a small shed in 1995 and has since grown to employ 15 people across its two facilities in Cooma and Yass.

The company can assist and advise clients from classing their wool in the shearing shed, to testing and cataloguing for sale at auction to all markets internationally.

Gordon has also championed the wool industry over the years, working with Australian Wool Innovation to help promote local wool growers and their products.


Australia (TMHA) is excited to strengthen its footprint in Far North Queensland with the addition of a brand-new branch to service its valued customers in Cairns and its surrounding regions.

The new facility sits on roughly 1000m2 of land in Woree, consisting of a 430m2 workshop and 260m2 office.

TMHA previously had a presence in Cairns with a storage facility that supported up to three service technicians and a salesperson, however the growth of the brand in the area has prompted the need for an upgrade to a more comprehensively fitted-out facility.

The new facility is also designed to support further growth in the FNQ region for TMHA’s range of Toyota forklifts, Huski Construction Equipment, and other allied products.

The new Cairns branch helps TMHA better service its FNQ customers.
The new Cairns branch helps TMHA better service its FNQ customers.

The new regional branch features a fully functional workshop capable of handling both pre-delivery and general service work, a large wash down bay, fabrication bay and two general workshop bays. 

Furthermore, it also includes pallet racking for parts and pre-delivery storage, a freight dispatch bay, machine storage areas and a generous office space including a board room that can be used for training.

TMHA branch manager Mitchell Ryan says the addition of the new Cairns branch would help the brand establish its footprint in Far North Queensland, helping it to better service customers.

“We are thrilled to be adding a new dedicated regional branch in Cairns, which will help improve the service we offer our valued customers while increasing our base in the area,” Mitchell says. 

“The ability to effectively and efficiently support our product from within the specific region is a very exciting opportunity for us.

“Furthermore, this larger facility provides us with room to grow the business and bring on more customers, which we will certainly be looking to do.”

For existing Cairns-based customers, the new branch will allow for increased parts and service capabilities, with sales teams also able to house greater levels of stock in the region.

For more information on Toyota Material Handling Australia, click here

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