TOM’S TOUGH­EST TEST

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Ali Kuchel [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

AF­TER a life­time on the farm, 84-year-old Tom Lin­nan has faced one of his most chal­leng­ing tests yet.

The third-gen­er­a­tion farmer was re­quired to pass an exam to ob­tain his fork­lift li­cence so he could con­tinue to work on the fam­ily farm.

Records show he is the el­dest per­son to earn his li­cence from SWQ Train­ing.

Tom stud­ied for two months prior to the prac­ti­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal as­sess­ment to en­sure he passed and could con­tinue to empty veg­etable cut-offs in the pack­ing shed.

It is a job he has done for 60 years.

While he ad­mit­ted to hav­ing plenty of nerves, Tom passed the test on his first at­tempt.

“It was mostly about safety and pre­vent­ing ac­ci­dents from hap­pen­ing,” he said.

“There wasn’t any fork­lifts back in my day.

“I ac­tu­ally started off in the horse days, us­ing the horses for work.”

While Tom doesn’t have any set jobs, he just car­ries out tasks he wants to do.

From emp­ty­ing the veg­etable of­f­cuts with a trac­tor fork­lift to spray­ing weeds, he is happy to lend a hand on the farm that’s now run by his sons.

“I’m happy to be here with the boys,” he said.

“I just like to be around, and I think the boys like hav­ing me around too.”

When Tom isn’t tend­ing to the veg­eta­bles, he is kept busy run­ning about 50 drought­mas­ter cat­tle.

“It has gone from one horse power to trac­tors I can’t even drive be­cause they’ve got GPS in them,” Tom said.

His grand­fa­ther Pa­trick Lin­nan bought the orig­i­nal farm at Lake Claren­don back in 1915, and it has re­mained in the fam­ily ever since.

To­day, Tom’s son Tim runs the farm­ing op­er­a­tion, which mostly grows broc­col­ini and shal­lots.

“It’s great to still have dad on the farm lend­ing a hand,” Tim said.

“He was pretty chuffed to get his cer­tifi­cate.”

PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

QUAL­I­FIED: Tom Lin­nan, 84, has ob­tained his fork­lift li­cence for the first time, al­low­ing him to con­tinue work­ing at the fam­ily farm.

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