Kay McBride with dog 'Daisie'.
Kay McBride with dog 'Daisie'. Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times

Where’s the serenity? Battler couple face Castle-like battle

A MAN'S home may be his castle, but Scotchy Pocket battler Bill McBride and his wife Kay have discovered that Darryl Kerrigan's sweet victory in The Castle is much harder to replicate in real life.

It is rare for the Davids of the world to take on and defeat the Goliaths.

Bill and Kay's 44ha property between Curra and Gunalda is about to share two fencelines with two quarries, each blasting a million tonne of rock out of the ground every year and planning to operate 200 trucks, 24 hours a day, six days a week.

Hi-Tec Industries Pty Ltd was last week given the green light to start work on its 540ha quarry bordering one side of the McBride property; and Wagners will take a development application of similar scale to Gympie Regional Council later this year.

The face of the Wagner quarry will be 365m from their house, and the view from their kitchen window takes in the ridge where Hi-Tec has already started blasting.

They bought the farm in 1989 for its spectacular views, but now they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

So far there has been no offer by either quarry to buy the McBrides out, but it won't be easy to stay in the home where they raised their two children, and where they now run a few cattle, chooks, two dogs and a cat.

The dust and noise will be constant.

"We are going to lose the peaceful hollow we have been used to for the past 25 years," Bill said this week.

The McBrides were one of two submissions made to the council opposing the Hi-Tec quarry. The council has since advised Bill that his only recourse is to appeal the council decision in court. But he says there is no way he can afford that.

At 58 years-of-age, he had hoped to be semi-retired by now, but was hurt in the global financial crisis of 2007, and must get by on his shift worker's wage.

"We are flat out paying our rates," he says.

Gympie Times


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