Cane farming was in her blood before Gladys Cecchi married Arthur in 1975.
The daughter of Peter and Lucy Valeriano, Gladys was raised on the family’s farm at Japoonvale from where they supplied cane to South Johnstone Mill from 1937 to 1954.
When they sold that farm in 1954, they purchased another farm on the Bruce Highway, 5km south of Innisfail.
This second farm is on the site of one of the first sugar mills in the district, on the banks of the South Johnstone River and known as Innishowen at Comoon Loop.
The mill commenced crushing in 1883 and ceased in 1891.
Owned since 1974 by Gladys and her family, husband Arthur and sons David and Paul Cecchi, the farm supplied cane to Mourilyan Mill until its closure due to extensive damage from Cyclone Larry, and the harvested cane is now crushed at South Johnstone Mill.
In events mirroring that of Arthur’s family, Gladys’ parents emerged from Piemonte, northern Italy.
Her father, Provino arrived in Freemantle before disembarking in Brisbane in 1924.
He travelled to Ingham where he cut cane for three years before moving further north to Mourilyan.
Gladys’ mother, Lucia, came to Australia with her mother and siblings to join her father who was cutting cane at Mirriwinni.
They family moved to Tully where they purchased 16 hectares of land which they cleared and planted sugar cane for Tully Mill. This farm was later sold.