Ongrade Earthworks

What do you do when you’re a gun operator from New Zealand and sick of the cold? Well, if you’re Greg Chant, owner operator of Ongrade Earthworks, you move to Darwin to warm your bones and rip into a pile of work in your new Kobelco machine in Australia’s Northern Territory.

It’s been eight years since Greg made the move from the other side of the ditch and set up Ongrade Earthworks, specialising in detailed earthworks in Darwin and its surrounding suburbs. Greg started in another brand of excavator, but after having these machines serviced by the Forecast Machinery team and experiencing various issues, Greg decided it was time to step across into his first Kobelco and hasn’t looked back.

“The thing I love most about my Kobelco machines is the reliability. My first 13-tonne excavator has over 5000 hours on it without a single breakdown. I now have a second machine – the SK135SR-7 – with a new updated cab, improved seat and upgraded controls, and a 10-inch display. It’s very comfortable and feels just like my office with amazing air-conditioning, which doesn’t struggle at all up here in the heat.”

Greg Chant, owner operator of Ongrade Earthworks

Kobelco Customer In Front Of Machine


Greg has been operating machinery and excavators since he left school in New Zealand, which means he has decades of experience behind the controls. For his recent purchase, Greg decided to opt in for the GPS services and purchased a tilt rotator. This combination has had a positive effect on his business, expanding his work opportunities into new areas. Greg shared, “I’d be lying if I said the first few months getting the tilt rotator dialled in wasn’t frustrating because it was new territory for me, but once you get used to operating with a tilt rotator there’s no going back – it’s an amazing piece of equipment.”

Dealing with Tom and Andy at Forecast Machinery has always been a positive experience for Greg. He said they have taken great care of him and gone above and beyond in terms of their level of service. “I’d love to tell you specific stories about how my machine broke down and the Forecast team dropped everything to come save the day, but neither of my Kobelco machines have had a breakdown. The service from the team at Forecast has always been wonderful. If I have service parts or any other required items, they will drop it to my workshop so I don’t have to go to them after hours. I just can’t recommend Tom and Andy enough,” said Greg.

Greg continued, “In terms of power my new Kobelco SK135SR-7 has come ahead leaps and bounds from the previous SK135SR-3. It’s a significantly more powerful machine with faster digging cycles and better breakout force, which means increased productivity. There’s plenty of opportunity coming up in the Territory for Ongrade Earthworks and I’ll certainly be looking to Tom and Andy for my next Kobelco.”


Tom Bate and his wife Andy are the dealer for Kobelco up in the Northern Territory. The pair have done a great job building the dealership in Darwin and its surrounding areas during the last eight years. When I chatted with Tom about his experience working with Greg, he shared, “We’ve been working with Greg for over eight years now. He started by bringing in other machinery for service and repairs, but when it was time for Greg to look at a new machine – after doing his research and us sharing with him the strengths of the Kobelco machine – he was quietly impressed and decided to jump into a Kobelco… he hasn’t looked back.

“We have now supplied Greg with his second Kobelco SK135 fitted with an ENGCON tilt rotating hitch, which has been a bit of a game changer for him, along with setting the machine up with GPS. Greg’s an owner operator who needs machines working at a premium level for his clients. Being able to match the GPS and technical advantages of the Kobelco machines has been right where Greg needed it to be. That, along with the performance and reliability of the Kobelco brand, is why Greg has now jumped into his second Kobelco machine.”

Tom continued, “Our relationship has been nothing but easy because Greg understands small business and the need to plan and forecast his requirements. Being remote in the Northern Territory, having someone that understands the challenges involved has made Greg a pleasure to deal with. We’re looking to grow our relationship and we have already been talking about some new opportunities and options. We’re looking forward to being able to continue to work with Greg and deliver on a product that can expand his opportunities.”

With both the Kobelco range of excavators and the team at Forecast Machinery kicking goals, there’s going to be some busy years ahead for operators and dealerships alike in the Northern Territory.

Written by: Earthmoving Equipment Magazine

Kobelco Customer In Front Of Machine
Kobelco Machine On Jobsite