News

It's arson or I'm a methodist preacher, says canegrower

Cane farmer John 'Stevo' Stevens in one of the patches of cane believed to have been deliberately lit.
Cane farmer John 'Stevo' Stevens in one of the patches of cane believed to have been deliberately lit. Robyne Cuerel

HE HAS survived floods, droughts and economic crashes but few things have rattled hardened Maryborough cane farmer John Stevens like losing an entire crop to senseless firebugs.

Mr Stevens was working an hour away on Saturday when a neighbour alerted his wife that a fire was tearing through land owned by two of the couple's grandsons at the Pocket.

Firefighters were called and neighbours pitched in but the blaze blackened more than 600 tonnes of cane worth more than $20,000.

Closer inspection of the field suggested the fire had been lit in three separate places.

Mr Stevens believes the act was most likely committed by bored kids with no insight into the devastation they were about to cause.

"We see a lot of kids running around the farm like it's a public place," Mr Stevens said

"They wouldn't like it if we ran around in their backyard - that's what this is, our backyard is just a bit bigger than theirs."

If the cane can't be milled, the grandsons, one of whom works at the sugarmill, will be compensated through the Canegrowers Association to the tune of about $20 per tonne but the cost of destroying the cane alone will likely exceed what little profit they may make.

Maryborough police have confirmed they visited the scene and are awaiting a report from Queensland Fire Service to determine the cause of the blaze.

Mr Stevens said while he would like to give those responsible "a good kick up the butt with my boot", he knows the chance of them being caught was unlikely.

He hopes a full investigation and a warning from authorities will at least get the message out that "playing games on a farm is playing with people's livelihoods".

"If it wasn't arson, I'm a Methodist preacher and I can assure you I am far from that," Mr Stevens said.

"We have worked hard all our lives, we are struggling to keep our heads above water - just have a think about what you are doing."

Topics:  arson, editors picks, fires, sugar cane




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

PREVIEW: Game of Thrones S6E10 Winds of Winter

Jonathan Pryce in a scene from season six episode 10 of Game of Thrones. Supplied by Foxtel.

A look ahead to Game of Thrones S6E10: Winds of Winter.

LETTER: Nanna’s bond can still be as strong

UNITY: When memories fade understanding can help families maintain their close ties.

Grandparents play a vital role in our society

Balloons soar for Monique three years after disappearance

THREE years after Monique Clubb went missing - Nikki Duncan, her daughter Ebony and Monique's brother Mickey at Torquay Jetty.

The fight to find Monique hasn’t ended

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Hervey Bay Gallery Perception

"Perception" - new exhibition by Artisits Afloat at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery. Artists Susie Lewis from Hervey Bay and Brian Eugarde from Deception Bay take a look at Brian's sculpture "In the Eye of the Beholder" with Susie's mixed media work "In Bloom" behind them.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Works by Artists Afloat on show at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

Rockhampton property in a lull, but a change is coming

Rockhampton's housing market in "pre-election mode"