A bittersweet centennial celebration

Pates' pineapple farm celebrates 100 years in Wamuran

Horticulture
William Pates' grandparents Henry and Lucy Pates established the farm in 1921.

William Pates' grandparents Henry and Lucy Pates established the farm in 1921.

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Wamuran pineapple farmer forced to cancel 100 year celebration.

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Wamuran farmer William Pates was anticipating a large crowd at the centennial celebration of his family farm but when Greater Brisbane was put into a snap COVID lockdown the day before, he was forced to cancel the celebration.

The event was expected to take place on January 9 and Mr Pates said although he was disappointed it was cancelled, he'd rather look at the bright side.

"A lot of time was put into organising the event, but when we got the message that the event couldn't go ahead it was pretty humbling," he said.

"There's nothing you can do about these things, and there's no good blaming anyone for it.

"It had been three years of planning but I don't handle crowds well, so it was a bit of a relief."

The Pates were the first pineapple farmers in Wamuran.

The Pates were the first pineapple farmers in Wamuran.

Mr Pates donned his "big boy pants" and got on with the job - unveiling the plaque that celebrated his family's 100 years of farming pineapples in Queensland by himself.

"I had a little moment by myself and it was nice."

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner was expected to be one of many celebrating the Pates' proud history growing pineapples in the region.

Mr Pates said he wanted the event to give back to local producers but cancelling the celebration was a small price to pay compared to other industries.

"Everything is pretty good at the moment, the pandemic hasn't played much of a part in our business," he said.

Pates' pineapples are just days away from harvest.

Pates' pineapples are just days away from harvest.

There are more than one million pineapple plants in the ground on the Pates' 20 hectare property, with Mr Pates grateful the stars aligned for the crop more than the event.

"It's been a good year, maybe a little more rain could have helped but this crop will get picked in the next ten days," he said.

"That's where the bread and butter comes from, I'm happy that's all going smoothly.

"It'll be a quick harvest, all the pineapples are coming on at the same time."

Mr Pates' pineapples are marketed through Pinata and are sold at Coles and Woolworths across the state.

He took over the farm from his parents Bob and Kimi Pates in the 1990s and expects the family's tradition of farming in Wamuran will end with him.

"100 years is a long time, I figured that's enough," he said.

The third generation farmer said although he appreciates the history, he'd much rather deal with the reality.

"The event would have been great, but that's history and the harvest is right now."

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