Farmer awarded for resilience during floods
WATCHING 50,000 pineapples rot as floodwaters isolated his Amamoor property was heartbreaking for Chris Doyle.
The raging Amamoor Creek ripped through his property, dumping trees in places they had never been.
The water rose fast, cutting off bridge after bridge, as Mr Doyle tried to salvage some of his crop.
In more than 40 years of farming, he had never seen a loss like that from flooding, but January's rain disaster hit the Gympie region hard.
Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli yesterday awarded him the inaugural resilience award for showing great spirit in returning to the Ekka despite the hardships he had faced.
Despite losing the lot, Mr Doyle was determined to bring his best pineapples to the show and featured in the ribbons.
Mr Doyle said he felt like he was accepting the award on behalf of the whole region who all helped pick up the pieces after the water receded.
"We were locked out from any roads or bridges," Mr Doyle said of his own experience.
"We were picking pineapples and we had truckloads sitting there waiting to be picked up.
"We couldn't get them out and they just went rotten.
"The ones still left on the blocks sat there for more than 10 days and just went too ripe."
Mr Doyle lost at least $50,000 worth but also has spent months fixing drains, fences, soil and reorganising crops on his 121ha property.
He said the warm weather had moved forward the latest picking season and he will begin today.
But the farm will not be in full production for another three years.
Mr Crisafulli said the way Mr Doyle rolled up his sleeves after what he had been through showed "the sort of people that make up regional Queensland".
"To steady yourself, climb back up, dry yourself off, and then make the effort to show Queensland the best you've got at the Ekka, personifies the spirit of recovery that defines this state," he said.
Mr Doyle said his family was the first to grow pineapples in the Mary Valley 95 years ago and had been farming on his current property for 60 years.
When asked how he likes his pineapple, Mr Doyle said "fresh and sliced". "There's nothing like a fresh pineapple on a warm day," he said.
"It's a taste you never tire of."