Forty-eight years together is a long relationship in anyone’s book, but that is how long Ted Bussey has been a member of various Mackay canegrowers organisations.
From the day he left school at the age of 14 to work on the family farm at Mount Martin, west of Mackay, cane farming has been in his blood.
However, times are changing and while he will still work the farm, Mr Bussey has decided to say goodbye to the Marian Canegrowers organisation.
“I honestly think that my era is finished. I’m a pencil and paper man and I just can’t stand to get a grip on computers,” Mr Bussey said.
“There’s some young names now on the list for the [canegrowers] election and that will be great to see them get involved.”
Ted Bussey joined the Mount Martin Branch of Marian Canegrowers as the secretary in 1967, before he became a member of the Marian Mill Suppliers Committee.
He then went on to be the chairman of that committee before becoming a Marian representative on the Queensland Canegrowers board.
There have been many discussions, debates and hard decisions to make over the years, but there are two accomplishments which stand out to Mr Bussey.
“Years ago we went from four-tonne bins to six-tonne bins and the trailer conversions was very contentious … but they really adapted to six tonners and they would not go back,” he said.
“Teemburra Dam was another highlight, that waterhole has been of great benefit to a lot of growers who are now assured of a crop.”
Bernice Bussey always beside Ted
Mr Bussey’s wife, Bernice, has worked beside her husband on the farm and on the committees the entire 52 years they have been married.
While Ted took care of the problem-solving, Mrs Bussey worked behind the scenes, taking over the computer work and never-ending paperwork.
“The main thing for me was that it [Canegrowers] has taken me from a very shy, country girl to somebody who had to step out of the square and learn to mix socially,” Mrs Bussey said.
“I will let you in on a little secret, the best part was when he [Ted] was on the state board, I shopped while he went to meetings.”
Mrs Bussey was proud of her husband’s achievements and his hard work in improving the local cane industry.
“I had great admiration for him, for his understanding and patience,” Mrs Bussey said.
“There have been growers who have called over the years with problems I thought were not going to be able to be solved … he always found a solution.”
The story behind ‘Ted’s Shed’
Ted and Bernice Bussey’s farm shed — known as Ted’s Shed — has been the venue for many local canegrowers meetings over the years.
It was built in 1975 by Ted and a friend, and was the biggest in the Marian district at the time.
It was also the very first to have a concrete floor, and apart from the iron around the outside, it was built nearly completely with timber.
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“We started with iron bark posts and they are four foot in the ground … everything is bolted together, there is nothing really nailed of the structure,” Mr Bussey said.
“It is here 40 years later, so it has proved its strength over the time and it is still a very useful shed.”
As for canegrowers meetings, Ted’s Shed will remain open for business.
“If they need a venue, we’ll sweep it out for them.”
Source – ABC