Total Toilets is the name to know when you need to go.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

We have all been there; enjoying ourselves at an outdoor event with a few drinks and a circle of friends, when nature calls. Faced with a bank of portable toilets, and potential flashbacks from previous bad experiences, even the bravest have been known to cross their legs. At WA’s Mingenew Midwest Expo, a visitor eyes a row of light blue toilets with just such trepidation. He gingerly opens the door and peers inside, before turning around and asking, “Hasn’t anyone been using these today?” “Yeah, they’re being used,” drawls an answer. “But they’re Total Toilets.”

Total Toilets, owned and operated by Karen and Steve Gilbert, has been building a reputation for being the cleanest in the dirtiest of businesses for 17 years. Specialising in portable sanitation, they offer anything from showers and hand-wash basins to grey-water management and liquid waste transfer, but their mainstay is toilets. 

After moving to Geraldton in 2006, the Gilberts went looking for an income stream to supplement Steve’s plumbing business. A friend mentioned there were never any good portable loos. “At the time all the portable toilets in the area were crap, literally,” Karen says. “There was nothing nice for a wedding or special occasion.” With more research, they decided to take a punt on a new venture.

This story excerpt is from Issue #152

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2024