21 June, 2021
TWO sides to the same axe
DALE Fortescue leads something of a double life at this time of year.
Yesterday morning, he was the mild-mannered milk-selling dairy famer with a great sense of humour.
But as the clock ticked toward noon, there emerged a somewhat different side to the affable market vendor.
Dale and his two youngest sons, Harry and George, are renowned and respected in Woodchop circles throughout the region – and back in the day, Dale was a national champion.
Ask him about it, and he is humble, and slightly reluctant.
The father of five grew up on his grandparent’s Mt Charlton dairy farm, living there until he was 15.
A third-generation farmer – following in the footsteps of his grandparents, Gordon and Almira Argent, and parents, Roger and Flo Fortescue – Dale and his wife Paula now own their own dairy farm on the banks of Broken River at Eungella.
Their Eungelladale Milk is marketed throughout the Mackay Isaac and Whitsunday regions.
But there is one week or so of each year, where the axe is sharpened, and the wood is lopped – and that is the week of the Mackay, Proserpine and Townsville shows.
Competing at all three shows, Dale and his sons are also carting wood for chopping up to the Townsville Show next week.
These days, he is all about having a go – and seeing his sons do the same.
Every one of the five kids – Jack, Sam, Meg, Harry and George – are all pretty handy with an axe; or a saw, as in Meg’s case!
“I’m a third-generation dairy farmer and a third-generation wood chopper,” Dale said.
“And the kids are fourth generation.
“We used to supply the blocks for the show in the 70s and 80s and Grandad was a woodchopper until he was 83.”
The former student of Mt Charlton School (where he had to behave himself because his mum was a teacher aide there!) and Mirani High School, also won a world title in the late 90s.
“That was back a bit, when I was younger and I could do a bit of chopping!”
“We’re heading up to Prossy on Friday and Saturday and then we will be heading up to Townsville.
“We all like it.”