Organic dream is Maurice's reality
TO see Maurice Bathersby stumping around on his Baffle Creek farm you would not guess that not so long ago he faced a decision affecting his life and health.
“These things happen, and you have to move on,” he said about the farm accident that left him with a prosthetic leg.
Mr Bathersby and his wife Lyn bought a Baffle Creek property in 2005 and moved there in 2008 with the aim of setting up an organic avocado farm.
The avocado farm is their second organic enterprise as previously they ran a 1000 bird free range chicken farm in Biloela.
“We used to come to Rosedale with the kids for holidays and one time we came across Baffle Creek,” Mrs Bathersby said.
“And of course I like fishing,” chimed in Mr Bathersby. There is a boat parked near his shed.
They signed up for the 16.18ha (40 acre) property on Taunton Road which was once part of the greater Euleilah Creek Station.
They started clearing the property on weekends the following year and planting the first trees in 2007.
They moved on to the property in 2008 and were certified fully organic in April this year.
The certification would allow them to grown fruit trees and smallcrops on the property, Mr Bathersby said.
“We use only certified organic fertiliser and we foliar spray by the moon – it works.
“By being certified organic we can expect to get top dollar for our produce.”
They had already planted 300 avocado trees but soon became interested in a new grafted mango developed in the Gin Gin area that promises to take the fruit world by storm.
They had come across a new variety of mango, a cross between a keitt and the popular bowen mango, named the Bundy Special, and got in touch with the grower, Eric Balke of Gin Gin who provided them with the first stock.
“It not only is a pretty, highly coloured fruit, it also produces more than double the crop of existing varieties,” Mr Bathersby said. Then the accident happened.
“I planted 100 of the mango trees but we were having trouble with kangaroos which were coming on to the property and eating the new grafts.
“On one occasion I set out on the motorcycle to scare them off but copped a log on my ankle and it put me in hospital.”
An infection set that could not be stopped which left him with no choice but to have the leg removed and to be fitted with a prosthetic leg.
“I was in and out of hospital during the recovery and rehabilitation – it was a very worrying time so we listed the property for sale and intended to move out.”
The accident exacerbated an old injury he had received in 1965.
It was during those years that he met the woman who was later to become his wife.
“He did a lot of living in hospital in those days,” said Mrs Bathersby.
“We met in 1968 when he was a patient and I was a nurse – I was working in pathology at that time – and we married in 1969.”
Fortunately, potential buyers were expecting a hobby farm not a commercial organic growing enterprise and there were no contracts.
It was just as well because, in time, Mr Bathersby made a good recovery, reigniting the interest in setting up the farming venture and the property was taken off the market.
Their immediate plan is to put in two more dams to be able to irrigate a further 200 Bundy Special mango trees.