Lightning strikes Beaudesert cattle

Beaudesert cattle found dead after storm

ELECTROCUTION: Mr Shirley said it looked as if all six cattle were felled after lightning hit the fence. Photo: Supplied

ELECTROCUTION: Mr Shirley said it looked as if all six cattle were felled after lightning hit the fence. Photo: Supplied


The farmer says it looks like they were hit by lightning.


SIX head of cattle from the property of grazier Eda Shirley in Beaudesert were found dead after a storm on February 26.

Ms Shirley’s son Derek said it appeared that they had been killed instantaneously after lightning struck the fence.

“They would have been standing in water near the fence and the lightning has just dropped them all at the same time,” Mr Shirley said.

Mr Shirley said the stock was worth $10,000.

“It happened on Monday night and we couldn’t get out to find them until Wednesday morning,” he said.

“We definitely could have done without it but I am more worried about the safety issues for people when we have storms like that.”

He said all six were lost and it raised real concerns about people taking the risk of being outdoors during a thunderstorm.

“They were all killed in an instant, (there were) no survivors in that herd and it could have been any one of us,” he said.

Mr Shirley was concerned that while most people were aware of the general advice about thunderstorms some might feel safe being out in the weather as long as they avoided sheltering under a tree or near a metal fixture.

“What if this had happened at a school or a kindy?” he said.

He said the incident showed that lightning, while a common feature of storms in the Scenic Rim, could be deadly.

Lightning risk expert Grant Kirkby said there had been reports of a similar incident in Norway last year when 223 large reindeer were felled in one go by an indirect lightning strike.

“Given the amount of space you would need to fit 223 reindeer, that’s an indication of how big of an area could be electrified by a lightning strike,” he said.

He said people should treat lightning with the same caution they would give a shark in the ocean.

“If you see a shark in the water, you’re going to get out and get your kids out very quickly, you don’t hang around to think about it,” he said.

“At the first sign of thunder or visible lightning the best thing to do is get indoors immediately.

“The majority of lighting injuries are not from direct strikes, most are indirect so the last thing you want to be doing in a thunderstorm is be standing in water.” 

To find out more about thunderstorm safety, visit


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