When Chris Edwards was offered a job as a driver he was pretty excited about the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce 6.8L V8.
He knew very little about the job - except to turn up in a suit.
But, when the 21-year-old arrived at the address he was surprised to learn the Rolls was in fact a hearse.
"I thought it was a hoax," Chris said.
More than 20 years later, and Chris has stepped out from behind the driver's seat and now owns Allan Pearse Funerals with wife Danni.
Chris worked at a number of funeral homes in both Victoria and Queensland, before venturing to the Great Lakes in 2004 to manage the Tuncurry site.
After graduating with a VCE from Ararat Secondary College (Victoria) the AFL mad Chris worked at the Bradmill Denim Factory in Melbourne.
"I worked nights and couldn't play footy," the one-time VFL player said.
The offer of a day-time job driving a Rolls Royce was too good to pass up.
He soon graduated to assisting at the funeral home, a side which exposed him to the nightmarish side, recovering bodies which had been victims of suicide, murder, drug overdoses or vehicle accidents.
Working closely with the coroner, many of the bodies were victims of the gangland murders which were rife during the 1990s.
"We would pick up the deceased from the scenes; many times a doctor would not write a death certificate for these people."
As a kid from country Victoria, these times were both interesting and confronting.
"I'd never seen a dead person before."
A respite from the industry and a move interstate, was short lived when Chris read an advertisement for a job in Tuncurry.
He believed he was called back into the industry, and at the same time was keen to give his children a country upbringing.
Since Chris and Danni took full control of Allan Pearse two years ago they have built a cremator in Tuncurry - previously families had to travel to Taree and Old Bar - offering local services to local people.
There are no dress rehearsals in this job you have to get it right the first time.Chris Edwards
"It is the most rewarding and interesting job you could do, and people who work here say the same thing.
"You get a kick out of helping people out."
But, the work could also be stressful and challenging.
"There are no dress rehearsals in this job you have to get it right the first time."
As Australia has become more multicultural the way funerals are conducted have changed.
"People want to give a 'better' send off."
More and more funerals are moving away from the dimly lit funeral home and traditional flower adorned church and chapel and onto the beach, parks and clubs.
"And, we go wherever people want us to go."
At the heart of the industry, it's all about giving the person the send off they would have wanted; a personalised service which provided comfort to the family.
Chris said the ideal funeral operator was a person who was adaptable, personable, had a sense of humour and able to read the family.
"You have to have empathy, be kind, strong, confident and respectful."
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.