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Neglect Schoolies and ‘chilling out’, these city teens spend summer saving farmers’ crop

Neglect Schoolies and ‘chilling out’, these city teens spend summer saving farmers’ crop

Brisbane college-leaver Rhys Burke below no circumstances imagined he would cease up deciding on watermelons below the blazing solar on a Chinchilla farm.

Key factors:

  • The five pals answered a farmer’s demand fruit pickers
  • Without backpackers to work because of the the pandemic, the farmer acknowledged his crop turned into at chance of no longer attending to market
  • The teenager pickers acknowledged it turned into the appropriate journey they had had

Four months ago, the city-primarily based entirely mostly teenager answered the call from farmer Murray Sturgess, who turned into firm for pickers to web his watermelon crop to market.

Early Newspaper

Rhys and college pal Aidan Stuart packed up and headed west, straight out of college into the sizzling paddocks of the Western Downs.

It’s miles exhausting work after 13 years within the lecture room, but, as Rees explains, “whenever you should seemingly well also survive the predominant three days, you are candy”.

Chinchilla melon farmer Murray Sturgess in the middle of his crop

Murray Sturgess says the college leavers enabled him to web his crop to market this season.

“I would positively kind it again and counsel it to someone else.”

Aidan acknowledged their plans drew a mixed reaction from college pals.

“Some were over the moon and some were form of unnerved, given the reality that we were correct impartial out of college,” he acknowledged.

Now no longer vexed of exhausting work

Farmers Murray and Wendy Sturgess bear worn backpackers within the previous for fruit deciding on, but with COVID-19 restrictions, none of them were on hand this year.

They tried marketing on social media and completely different sites to no avail, but then, thru a pal, came all over Rhys and Aidan prepared to give it a inch.

Nonetheless they mandatory draw more succor and three of Rhys’s pals who had lately graduated from The Gap Speak High College also answered the call.

Year 12 school leavers loading picked water melons on farm near Chinchilla

The crew of college leavers enjoyed engaged on the melon farm over summer.(

Supplied: Murray and Wendy Sturgess


One of them, Luca Nikolic, acknowledged the journey had changed his mindset and he turned into shocked by how a lot he turned into in a position to.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” he acknowledged.

Despite a worldly originate up, Mr Sturgess acknowledged as soon as the beginners bought going, they cherished it.

“They were grateful adolescents that bear below no circumstances labored sooner than completely different than at fleet food retailers,” he acknowledged.

Working life boosts teen self belief

Mr Sturgess acknowledged he had put plenty of time and effort into coaching the young recruits, no longer most attention-grabbing in fruit deciding on but also in cattle husbandry.

A Watermelon farm

Rhys’s mum acknowledged he returned residence with a renewed self belief after a summer of watermelon deciding on.(

ABC Rural: Nathan Coates


He turned into pleasantly shocked by their work ethic.

“Some bear below no circumstances been in a rural station and I’m in a position to understand why plenty of sizable employers can no longer consume them on story of they would possibly be able to no longer put that extra mile into making them in actual fact feel at residence,” Mr Sturgess acknowledged.

The college-leavers also made their households proud.

Rhys’s mum Carol Burke turned into amazed at the swap in her son after a couple of months on the farm.

“He’s a bit bit unexcited and seemingly no longer so confident,” Ms Burke acknowledged.

“He came residence for a couple of days over Christmas and the adaptation within the three weeks he turned into obtainable turned into incredible.

“It turned into so evident — it turned into correct that self belief.”

Rhys is now turning his like for the beginning air and the abilities he honed on the farm into a landscaping apprenticeship.

Neglect Schoolies and ‘chilling out’, these city teens spend summer saving farmers’ crop