Two years on: Fresh start for young KI family after big fire losses

Alisha Fogden
By Alisha Fogden
January 27 2022 - 7:34am

NEW parents Josh Graham and Lilly Buick had only just moved back into their home at Duncan in March last year when their daughter Charlie arrived three weeks early.

"The house wasn't quite finished, but we wanted to be ready," Ms Buick said.

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Their Glencorrie Border Leicester stud was on track for a "best-ever" lambing, before they lost 90 per cent of the stud on January 3.

"The fires have set us back about three or four years in genetics," Mr Graham said.

But they are back at full capacity, running 11,000 breeding ewes, while also cropping up to 300ha of beans and barley for feed.

"It was a tough winter, but then an excellent spring, which saved us," he said.

Mr Graham said they bought more rams last year as they planned to increase their Merino flock for first-cross ewe production.

Glencorrie bought 18 rams at the 2021 Ridgway Poll Merino ram sale, when normally the order is about eight to 10.

All of their sheds have been rebuilt, including a new shearing shed, which also doubles as a machinery shed, while the roof on their sheep yards was stripped back and repainted after being warped in the fires.

"We have about 30 kilometres of fencing to go (after losing about 100km in the fire)," Mr Graham said.

They are also pushing to get the landscaping at the house complete, with fire-resistant kikuyu already surrounding the property.

But they finally feel like they're "getting there", two years on since the fires.

"We will have to push for probably another two years to get the rest of the property back to how we want it," Mr Graham said.

"But we're finally starting to settle in. We'll be happy when we don't have to make so many decisions."

The couple supported the idea of breaking up the parks for better fire management - "it just makes sense", while they looked forward to the plantations surrounding their house to be converted back into farmland.

"It will be good to take some of the fire risk out," Mr Graham said.

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"And potentially bring more families back into the community."

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Alisha Fogden

Alisha Fogden

senior journalist, cropping editor at Stock Journal

Journalist at Australian Community Media newspapers since 2007.

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