Paul Zischke with his father Gavin Zischke.
Paul Zischke with his father Gavin Zischke.

Lockyer family sell up farm after 120 years on the land

PAUL Zischke has been busy this week preparing for a massive $350,000 clearance sale to be held on Saturday, at the Glenore Grove property that five generations of his family have owned and farmed for 120 years.

Mr Zischke, who with his father Gavin, recently sold their land to Rugby Farm, said it had been an emotional time but they were “holding it together” and looking forward to the future as the industry had become “tougher and tougher” for family-run farming operations.

“We’ve been here on this farm for close to 120 years, so it was a big decision and there have been lots of sleepless nights,” Mr Zischke said.

“We weren’t looking to sell but got tapped on the shoulder, and dad’s 64 now and he’s ready to retire.

“It probably hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

With his wife Amy and their three children – Sienna, 13; Addison, 11; and Allegra, 9 – Mr Zischke will continue to live on the land and rent the home he has lived in since he and Amy were married.

Gavin – who has lived in his house nearby on the property since he was born – and Paul’s mother, Cheryl, will also stay at their home for the short-term while Paul’s grandma, 87-year-old Dell, will continue to live in her house.

Mr Zischke said the drought had been making sustaining a living from the land difficult, although he couldn’t imagine a lifestyle as good anywhere else.

“You’re brought up as a kid on the land, and it becomes your life, but it has become more difficult as Coles and Woollies have monopolised the market.

“There used to be times when the markets were really good and you got that big shot in the arm, but those things don’t happen any more.

“Most of our produce has been contracted over the last 15 years so you’re on a set price and if you have a hiccup like a drought or flood, you find yourself going backwards and never really forwards.”

Mr Zischke’s great-great-grandfather, Heinrich Zischke, and his wife Emma, brought the family name to Glenore Grove when he selected farmland in the area when it was first opened for selection at the courthouse in Laidley in 1903 – Glenore Grove State School opened three years later.

“Heinrich’s father, Johan, had settled in Hatton Vale from Prussia and he came over the hill from Hatton Vale and settled on the farm that my house is on.

“There were three brothers who bought land side by side. We own the farm of one of the brothers and our neighbours are on the land of one of the other brothers.”

Mr Zischke said the region had modernised and changed since he was young, however, it had maintained “a nice, quiet country feel”.

“When I went to school, everyone was a farmer’s kid but that’s all changed now – I don’t think there’s any farmer’s kids there now except for mine.

“The area is a great location. You’re half an hour from Ipswich, half an hour from Toowoomba, one-and-a-half hours from the Gold Coast, but you’re still living in the country – it’s magic.

“I think it’s the ultimate lifestyle.”

Growing up in the country had instilled a solid work ethic in him, Mr Zischke said.

“You’re brought up knowing that if you work hard, you can make a go of anything.

“You learn a lot of resilience. You’ve got to go through a lot of ups and downs and the weather is king – there’s always something you’re battling.

“I wouldn’t want to have my kids brought up anywhere else. You’ve got freedom here and you feel safe.”

Mr Zischke said farmers wore many hats – maintaining the bookkeeping, managing people, and planning schedules.

“You’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, and you do your best.

“It’s just home, isn’t it?”

Featured at the clearance sale will be nine tractors and vehicles, 31 pieces of farm machinery, 10 irrigation utilities and a long list of sundries including electric fence units, diesel tanks and a fuel tank.

Stariha Auctions auctioneer David Stariha said the clearance, from 10am, Saturday, at 7 Glenore Grove Farm Road, would be “one of the biggest sales that’s been in the region for a while”.

“There’s a lot of very good farm implements. They are very good farmers and it’s good quality gear which has all been very well maintained.”

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