Connection with community

Rob Backwell (left) And Cousin Matt Backwell
Rob Backwell (left) And Cousin Matt Backwell

In Geelong, business, family and community are interconnected. Some companies founded in the region decades ago have seen the city grow alongside their venture and, often, their own children. Backwell IXL is one of these businesses.

The fifth-generation family-owned manufacturing company, which started as a small blacksmith shop in Aberdeen Street more than 160 years ago, has Geelong woven into the fabric of its identity. This deep, personal connection to the community is why, says company director Rob Backwell, the business chooses to give to the Geelong Community Foundation.

“Geelong has been very good to us as a business and a family for more than 160 years, so if we have an opportunity to contribute something more to that community we are delighted to do so,” Rob says.

The Backwell family started the Backwell IXL Fund with the Geelong Community Foundation in support of the Foundation’s objectives to assist people in need in our community, with a specific focus on improving educational opportunities.

“We’ve always felt strongly about wanting to support educational opportunities for disadvantaged kids in the region,” Rob explains. “That’s a big focus of ours.”

They chose the Geelong Community Foundation because of its sustainable philanthropy model which continues to build its corpus whilst making grants from the income derived.

“We really like the way the Foundation only deploys a portion of the income derived from contributors,” Rob says. “This means our contributions can continue to bring benefits to the community forever.”

Backwell IXL is now a successful Australian manufacturer and distributor of domestic appliances, pressed and roll-formed metal products and metal castings. The company’s manufacturing capabilities include metal stamping, roll forming, laser cutting, turret punching, cnc bending, welding, painting and assembly.

The group manufactures in Geelong and distributes the IXL Tastic bathroom heat vent and light products, Cannon gas log fires and other IXL and Cannon branded domestic appliances. It is also the Australian and New Zealand distributor for iRobot robotic vacuum cleaning products.