Flood ravaged farmers honoured as Ekka's bravest
TWO of the Ekka's bravest primary producers who were smashed by floods earlier this year have been recognised with a Queensland Minister's Resilience Award at the show today.
Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli said cattle and horse breeders Tony and Kate Mortimer, and pineapple grower Chris Doyle, are worthy recipients of the award.
"The determination of these producers to bounce back, despite dreadful losses, is inspiring," Mr Crisafulli said in a statement.
"They show the best of Queensland resolve and today we salute them."
Tony and Kate Mortimer were in a desperate race on Australia Day this year as they fought to stop their highly prized Brahman cattle and Australian Stockhorses from being washed away as the Burnett River tore through their Eidsvold property.
They risked their own lives at night to cut fences and free their horses as the flood waters rose five meters higher than they'd ever seen.
Despite their efforts, mares and foals were washed away. Incredibly, most of the stock found its way home, with one foal wandering back into the yard three days later.
This family rallied to show at the EKKA this year, not only displaying the best of their Brahman cattle but also taking out Reserve Champion.
The crops of Gympie district pineapple grower, Chris Doyle, were also wiped out by the torrent of water that raced through his farm in February.
His family has worked the area for almost 100 years, but nothing prepared him for the force of water that destroyed $50,000 in pineapples.
The raging Amamoor Creek ripped through his property, dumping trees in places they'd never been. The water rose fast, cutting off bridge after bridge, as Mr Doyle tried to salvage some of his crop. In the end, he lost the lot.
But having won many Ekka prizes in the past, Mr Doyle was determined to bring his best pineapples to the show and featured in the ribbons.
The exhibits from the Mortimers and Mr Doyle are among hundreds from disaster-hit communities.
On show are bantams from Bundaberg, horse riders from Roma, Mundubbera wood choppers, quilts from Bargara, work from St George students, Chinchilla sheep dogs and corgis from Rockhampton.
"I saw more heartbreak during the floods than I ever want to see again and these people standing with me today have suffered," Mr Crisafulli said.
"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.
"These awards today are meant to show Tony, Kate, Chris, and all the other farmers who are doing it tough after the floods that the rest of Queensland hasn't forgotten them."