Who Are We?
The Whelan Group of Companies has been an innovator within the waste and recycling industry for more than 130 years. With a diverse and inclusive workforce, Kartaway offers its staff a purpose, based around strong operational values.
Kartaway recognises the importance of empowering its employees, reflecting enhanced engagement, productivity and a sense of belonging.
As a proud family owned and operated business, Kartaway values its commitment to the environment, the legacy of its founders and proven reliability in servicing its clients.
Why Choose Kartaway?
Why Choose the Kartaway?
History of Kartaway
The Whelan group of companies commenced activity in 1892. James Paul Whelan started up his Cartage Company that year in East Brunswick, Melbourne. Initially the Whelan business was as a general carrier delivering goods of all sorts around Melbourne (Population approx. 490,000). As time passed, the company focused on the demolition of buildings and the transport and resale of second hand materials from demolished buildings. This would become the main trade of the company.
The 1890’s were a time of great tribulation with the boom times coming to an end and many banks and businesses collapsing, but remarkably James Paul Whelan prospered in the difficult times and the business he set up in went from strength to strength, becoming a household name known famously as ‘Whelan the Wrecker’. In 1939 his three sons, James, Thomas and Joseph took over the management of the business.
The war years slowed the growth of the business, but by the 1950s and 60s the company had expanded further and was highly visible with the redevelopment of old Melbourne. A ‘Whelan the Wrecker is here’ sign became an indication of an exciting new project commencing.
By 1952 the family had also established Wreckair Pty Ltd which would become Australia’s largest plant hire company (now merged into the operations of a large Australian Public Company). With the population of Melbourne swelling to 1.85 million by 1960 an unprecedented phase of major construction in Melbourne’s CBD commenced. Large tracts of now redundant buildings were demolished. The Whelan Group was there. At this time many new, private and public buildings such as the Housing Commissions flats, The Victorian Arts Centre and the Southern Cross Hotel were constructed. During the 70’s work had commenced on the Melbourne Underground. Over 80% of the current high rise buildings in Melbourne were constructed post 1970. This type of activity called for a new streamlined and systematised approach to waste management from the building industry. In 1977 Kartaway Rubbish Removals commenced operations as a specialist Bin and Skip Operator in Victoria and in 1979 purchased Collins and Davey Pty Ltd, a significant competitor offering a similar bin service in the Industrial waste removal sector.
Expansion followed in the early 80’s with Peninsula Kartaway operating predominately in the new and lucrative market of the Mornington Peninsula and in the mid 80’s Kartaway (Qld) Pty Ltd was established in the then strongest growth area for building and construction – South East Queensland – the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. In 1987 the Whelan family purchased all other owners’ interests in Kartaway and established a new company, Whelan Kartaway Pty Ltd. By 1990, in a year of major expansion, the group doubled its size via the acquisition of the Miniskips business operated out of Queensland into NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Skipaway Skip Hire, the major operator on the Gold Coast was also acquired. The further acquisition in 1991 of the transport arm of the Moss Rock Garden Supplies business in Thomastown, Melbourne provided an important inversion incursion into the recycling industry sector, with large waste paper contracts included in the sale package. In the last twenty years Kartaway have set up privately owned transfer stations in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and jointly operated Council transfer stations in South Australia.
It has consolidated all companies into one operating identity – Kartaway. During this period the company has processed over 2 million orders and is now one of Australia’s leading waste management companies servicing the building, construction and recycling industries with a modern, systematised operation run by the same Whelan family who back in 1892 set about making a living in tough times. From a small provincial city of 490,000 people perched beside a river, Melbourne is now a world class destination and considered one of the world’s most liveable cities. The Whelan family has been involved in its development from these early times and for the last 35 years the Kartaway business has moved to the national stage. Kartaway management and staff thank you for your support and look forward to a bright and prosperous future.