Rebuilding Julia Creek's Channel Downs

NQ floods: Rebuilding Channel Downs


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With a whole heap of help, the Cook family is getting its Julia Creek cattle property back on track.

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REWIRED: Ron and Kylie Cook and their two youngest children Peter and Emily are getting their 8000 hectare Julia Creek cattle property back on track.

REWIRED: Ron and Kylie Cook and their two youngest children Peter and Emily are getting their 8000 hectare Julia Creek cattle property back on track.

FLOOD affected north west Queensland cattle producers Ron and Kylie Cook reckon they were left with only one option. That was to sell up.

Belted by years of drought and then the devastating north Queensland floods, the Cooks were at a loss as to how to get the usually 1000 head cattle business at Julia Creek back into operation.

"Put it this way. Our bank overdraft was five times more than when we went into the drought," Mrs Cook said.

About 20km of fencing has already been completed on the Cook family's Julia Creek property Channel Downs.

About 20km of fencing has already been completed on the Cook family's Julia Creek property Channel Downs.

"After the flood hit and we knew how much damage there was, we looked at the figures and knew what had to be done. That was to borrow even more money, re-fence the place and sell up." 

Channel Downs copped a staggering 735mm of rain over 10 days in early February. The fast-flowing flood literally wrecked the 8000 hectare cattle property. All but 10 of the 350 remaining cattle perished and every fence and strainer post on the property was washed away.

The phone didn't stop ringing with people offering all kinds of help. The support and generosity has been unbelievable. - Kylie Cook, Channel Downs

Then the phone started ringing. Out of the blue came an offer of 20km of fencing material through Stan Johnston's Rewired program, labour to help erect the fencing and even a brand new CFMoto quad bike anonymously donated through Stockplace Marketing in Richmond.

"We couldn't believe it," Mrs Cook said. "The phone didn't stop ringing with people offering all kinds of help. The support and generosity has been unbelievable.

"The only phone call I made was to Adrian Hollingsworth at Re-Stock the North-West program hoping we might be able to secure some agistment cattle for after we had rebuilt the fences."

However, the Cooks were floored to learn Bob and Raye O'Sullivan from Doongmabulla, Clermont, were willing to donate 150 ready-to-join heifers.

Mr O'Sullivan said he was more than happy to help.  

Between them Derick, Pam, Nicole and Jason (pictured) Spann, Minlacowie and Wingfield Droughtmasters, Jambin; Doug Miles, Trafalgar, Morinish; Douglas Birch, Birch Stud, Eidsvold; Keith Rutherford, Redskin Droughtmasters, Morinish, and Brian and Yvonne Heck, Bryvonlea, Glastonbury Creek; have donated six bulls to the Cook family.

Between them Derick, Pam, Nicole and Jason (pictured) Spann, Minlacowie and Wingfield Droughtmasters, Jambin; Doug Miles, Trafalgar, Morinish; Douglas Birch, Birch Stud, Eidsvold; Keith Rutherford, Redskin Droughtmasters, Morinish, and Brian and Yvonne Heck, Bryvonlea, Glastonbury Creek; have donated six bulls to the Cook family.

"We were inspired to help when we heard the Cook's had lost their cattle herd," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"The heifers are very quiet. What we would like to see is the cattle are handled using horses."

The No.7 Droughtmaster/Brahman-cross females will be transported to Channel Downs once there is fencing to contain the livestock.

But what's the value of females without bulls, reasoned Stan Johnston from Craiglea Stud, Kenilworth. A few phone calls later and the Cooks were on the receiving end of six high quality Droughtmaster bulls.

"People really want to make a difference," Mr Johnston said, who has worked closely with Shane and Kym Smith from Kenilworth Rural Supplies to coordinate the Rewired project.

RELATED STORY: 'North Qld floods: Refencing appeal launched'.

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