Rob Patch is seeking help to identify the men in the picture he holds. It was taken about 60 years ago and he feels his curiosity is getting closer to being fulfilled.
Rob Patch is seeking help to identify the men in the picture he holds. It was taken about 60 years ago and he feels his curiosity is getting closer to being fulfilled.

Search for identities

CHILDERS peanut van owner Rob Patch is calling for help from residents around the region in identifying three blokes in a picture which clearly shows the hardships they have endured.

Mr Patch said he had reason to believe the men in the photograph were cane cutters, possibly from the Childers or Bundaberg area.

Mr Patch has seven possible names for the men.

The picture was taken of the men peanut stooking in the Kumbia area after the cane cutting season had finished and had heard a number of stories about the stookers.

The stookers never wore boots but endured the pain of bull and goat head prickles, nettles and thorns as they bent low and made their way through the fields picking peanut bushells.

“Because the ground was wet with dew in the morning their boots would get heavy with mud,” Mr Patch said.

“It was easier they thought to leave the boots off.”

Calls to Mr Patch also suggest the men on either side of the photograph could be Digger O’Conner and his brother Con who was deemed the best stooker of all time.

They had a third sibling, Jonny, who drowned in a dam near Cairns and always promised to marry the first woman he came across who was shaped like a wine bottle.

The man in the middle could be Fred Fillipy although he is also thought to be George Eckart.

The men on either side are also said to look like Jonny and Alan Janetzky.

Mr Patch was himself a stooker of peanuts on his family’s Crawford farm at the age of 12.

He was born into the trade as he never wore shoes until he was a teenager.

“I thank my lucky stars every day they brought in mechanical harvesting,” Mr Patch said.

“It meant I could sit on a tractor all day instead of being bent over in a paddock full of prickles.”

Anybody with information can phone the Patchs on 1300 818 283.



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