Pick­ing up the pieces

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - JOSHUA PRE­STON Joshua.Pre­ston@gympi­etimes.com

McINTOSH Creek let­tuce grow­ers Tracey and Dave Gourlay felt the full ef­fects of the tor­nado-like thun­der­storm that struck the Gympie re­gion with fear­some fe­roc­ity on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

They could only watch as heavy rain, de­struc­tive winds and a sea of large hail bashed their house and their ex­ten­sive grow­ing sta­tions, leav­ing them with noth­ing else to do but try to pick up the pieces.

By yes­ter­day morn­ing the hail re­mained in clus­ters, along with the nets it ru­ined and crops it dam­aged.

“Dave’s a farmer, he’s been a farmer for years and years and he’s never seen a storm like that,” Mrs Gourlay said.

“He does this per­ma­nent net­ting through his busi­ness, any struc­ture he had ever seen would never hold that hail.

“You couldn’t see out­side the win­dow it was like a full on snow­storm, ev­ery­thing out here was like a win­ter won­der­land, it was that bad.

“Our whole laun­dry is gone, it got flooded out, a lot of houses along here are like that as well. There’s a ton of hail sit­ting on our roof, just sit­ting there.

“I don’t even know how to de­scribe it, I went to the laun­dry and went ‘Oh my god, where’s the roof gone?’. It was just pour­ing in all over the floor.”

Now left with a sub­stan­tial re­cov­ery ef­fort ahead of them, Mrs Gourlay said she and Dave would adopt the “farmer’s at­ti­tude” and “just carry on”.

“We’ve lost about $34,000 in in­come off the let­tuce that’s grow­ing, but ev­ery week I plant 5000 seeds.

“Some of those seedlings are de­stroyed so that will carry on, and the ta­bles I don’t even know, I can’t work out how much we’ve lost there.

“It’s bug­gered, they’re all smashed.

“I don’t know how we’re go­ing to come back from this, it’s go­ing to cost a for­tune, but we’re okay, I’m sure there are peo­ple who have lost more.”

Photo: Troy Jegers

DEV­AS­TA­TION: Tracey Gourlay as­sesses the dam­age at her McIntosh Creek Rd let­tuce farm.

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