Next time you see a tractor mowing the side of the road in Gungahlin or Belconnen, slow down and give the guy a wave. It’s more than likely Gino Giucci, Canberra’s Mowing King, or one of his five crew members.
The job they do for Canberra not only maintains our beautiful garden city’s look, it ensures our roadsides are clear of vegetation, and there’s nothing obstructing the view of a motorist at an intersection. The team has a contract from the ACT Government to ensure 500 hectares of roadside is kept mowed and maintained, including brush cutting around power and light poles. He’s using a fleet of mowers and brush cutters, which Bayldon Ag had a hand in supplying, and which maintains his fleet.
Growing up on the northside of Canberra in Downer, Giucci went to Downer Primary School, Watson High School and Dickson College. He’s a northside man, and has the contract to maintain and mow the roadsides and intersections of Belconnen and Gungahlin on behalf of the ACT Government, a job, he says, that is only noticed when it is not done.
“Most people take it for granted that the roadsides will be clear of vegetation,” he said, “but there’s a lot of work goes into it!
“We start mowing our 500 hectares of roadside, and the minute we finish, we start again, it’s like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”
This season, he says, is going to be a busy one.
“Every few years, the mowing starts early,” said Gino, “and this is going to be one of those years.”
Gino’s day starts at 5:30 am, when he starts putting signage on the road in the area that is to be mowed that day. He returns home to ensure his crew have all they need, that the machinery is all working. The mowing starts at 7:00 am and continues until 4:00 pm.
“At 4:00 pm we down tools and go back to the depot,” he said, “and then I go back out and pick up the signage.”
“We work Monday through Saturday for a four to five-week period to get the 500 hectares done, then we start all over again.”
Gino says he loves being outside, and gets great satisfaction from mowing the verges to a neat and tidy finish.
“Most of the time, 99 percent of people will be happy to see you out mowing, but it would help our safety if people slowed down, and were more attentive on the road,” he said.
“We always signpost to let people know what we’re doing, but there have been some incidents where people have thrown things out of their car windows on the way past, physically hurting our crews.
“That’s absolutely unacceptable.”
But, said Gino, there are also extremely rewarding parts of the job, where the entire crew feels appreciated.
“There were some ladies at the shop one day when we stopped for lunch, they came up to tell us they appreciate what we’re doing, and they’d bought us ice creams because it was a hot day,” he said.
“And there’s a bloke on Ginninderra Drive that gives us a nice cold drink,” he said. “But no beer, not on the job.”
That might come when he takes a break at his local watering hole, the Raider’s Club at Kippax, where you might find him relaxing on a Sunday afternoon with family and friends. His other passion is fishing, and he takes the opportunity when he can to throw a line in at Lake Eucumbene, or at the coast where he has family and access to a boat.
So next time you spot a sign indicating the verges are being mowed, slow down, and give them a wave. It might even be Canberra’s Mowing King himself.