Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves
Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves

3 times the charm for Gympie’s hero MP

Gympie MP and Opposition spokesman on Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Tony Perrett, is not unaccustomed nor averse to a good old political stoush.

Widgee engineer busted with growing tent and 21 cannabis plants

He did his time in the trenches at Kilkivan and then Gympie Regional Council before winning the state Gympie seat in 2015.

He has wallowed in the doldrums of Opposition ever since, but it's a rare occasion to see him without a smile and a genuine willingness to have a chat. He's a cattleman who moved to the Gympie region from Kingaroy 24 years ago, when he and his family purchased the property 'Tye,' at the headwaters of Boonara Creek.

Tony Perrett is a likeable chap - and very tenacious apparently.

GOING AHEAD: Date set for Goomeri Pumpkin Festival's 25th year

Gympie Regional Council CEO Shane Gray in addressing Gympie business community earlier this month said he'd recently embarked on the huge task of locating and registering all of the council's assets.

Activate your FREE Courier Mail subscription and you could win $20,000

"If I'd know Mr Perrett was so good at finding things, I'd have enlisted his help straight away," Mr Gray told the crowd to much laughter.

Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves
Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves

Tony is well supported by his wife Michelle. They have two daughters and will this year become grandparents for the first time.

As a couple they are a powerful local force, a fact illustrated by their determination last month when 58-year-old Robert Weber went missing for 18 days on their vast property north of Kilkivan.

He'd been last seen leaving the Kilkivan pub with his dog Nessie in a white Ford on January 6, heading for Dulula near Rockhampton. He never got there.

A missing person alert was raised more than a week later, and the search began.

On January 17, workers mustering in a remote paddock on the Perrett's 15,000 (6070ha) property spotted Mr Weber's car wedged in some rocks. It had been 11 days since he left the pub.

Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves
Tony Perrett's extraordinary hat trick of involvement in Robert Weber's survival after being lost in the bush near Kilkivan for 18 days has possibly not received the accolades it deserves

This triggered a full-scale land and air search, which the Perretts were a part of, but to no avail.

With hopes of finding Mr Weber dwindling, emergency services eventually called off the search, but the Perretts refused to give up.

"We just kept going in the hope that we'd find him, searching all the water points on the property, and of course we did find him," Tony said.

Mr Weber was found 3km from his bogged car. He'd survived on dam water and mushrooms.

"(That) morning my wife and I set off early to search a paddock which was adjacent to the paddock where his car was found. We'd searched all the water points in there and went to a couple of spots we hadn't been to previously," Tony said.

Michele and Tony Perrett found missing man Robert Weber near a dam on their property more than two weeks sfter the 58-year-old went missing.
Michele and Tony Perrett found missing man Robert Weber near a dam on their property more than two weeks sfter the 58-year-old went missing.

"We then we drove out of that particular paddock into the next one through a small set of stock yards. We went over this small crest and as we drove towards the dam, there we saw what turned out to be Robert frantically waving at us."

Transporting Mr Weber 8km back to their home on the property, Tony and Michelle supplied him with food and fresh water as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

"We went down and sat down with him and I said 'geez Robert, you've been the hardest man to find this last week. We've been looking everywhere for you but thank goodness we found you'," Tony said.

"It was just an emotional period. We hadn't given up hope, we were still looking, but every day that went by was just less likely that we were going to be able to find him in a good state."

The community knew Mr Weber's dog was still missing but hopes ha all but vanished of finding Nessie.

Seven days later, though, on the last night in January, Nessie simply wandered into the Perrett's home.

"When you think of the amount of time she was missing, it's extraordinary. She dropped quite a bit of body weight, but she was still lively. There were no physical injuries," said Tony.

Robert Weber, 58, shares survival story after 18 days missing Picture ABC/Michael Rennie
Robert Weber, 58, shares survival story after 18 days missing Picture ABC/Michael Rennie

It was a wonder Nessie hadn't encountered potential predators on her travels.

"It's a good outcome. Given the length of time I wasn't holding out a lot of hope, we were obviously so happy to find Robert..." he said.

"That dog could have been taken by anything, we have wedge-tailed eagles up here. A domestic dog not used to something preying on it could have been vulnerable, but she was fine."

Tony dismisses all this as "being in the right place at the right time", and maybe he was. Maybe he always is.

Gympie Times


‘OBLITERATED’: Driver cut from car near Gympie

Premium Content ‘OBLITERATED’: Driver cut from car near Gympie

The crash just north of Gympie on the Bruce Highway involved two drivers, and a...

Construction starts on controversial hinterland servo

Premium Content Construction starts on controversial hinterland servo

Signs go up in the town voicing strong opposition to the project

The 42 men and women facing Gympie court today

Premium Content The 42 men and women facing Gympie court today

The full list of people facing Gympie Magistrates Court today