Menu
News

Region cafe ready to reap rewards of $2 billion solar farm

AN AUSSIE PICK-UP: Ash and Linda Blake of The Rusty Ute Cafe hope to see a boost from the Lower Wonga solar farm development.
AN AUSSIE PICK-UP: Ash and Linda Blake of The Rusty Ute Cafe hope to see a boost from the Lower Wonga solar farm development. Scott Kovacevic

WITH a $2billion solar farm ready to start 5km down the road at Lower Wonga, those workers are going to need something to eat.

And what more Aussie delivery tool than a Rusty Ute?

Having taken over the Woolooga cafe in June 2016, owners Linda and Ash Blake are hoping the 450-job influx will directly boost their business.

It would be a dream outcome for a job which itself was part of a dream.

"Ash had it on his bucket list - own a little takeaway shop somewhere - and when the opportunity came up we jumped at it," Mrs Blake said.

Mr Blake said it was a "lifestyle change" from his previous career as a tree-lopper, one driven by a desire for family time with his children.

"Going to work before they wake up and being too tired and grumpy from tree-lopping when I get home to do too much with them," he said.

Not that he hated that job.

"Cutting them down is great, picking them up is horrible," he said.

In particular, it was "the adrenalin you get from nearly losing a limb sometimes" he said, something which Mr Blake said played a part in their decision.

"Hence the reason for a lifestyle change," she said.

"The opportunity came up so we jumped on it."

While Mr Blake's career was mostly in the one area, Mrs Blake brought a diverse range of experiences with her.

Her jack-of-all-trades career has spanned working in a mechanic shop with her dad, a dress shop with her mum, and work in hospitality which she "never thought I'd go back to".

Now that they have taken over from Mrs Blake's dad and his wife, the job has proven to have a quirk or two, especially with tourists.

"We get lots of Americans come in and say, 'what's an eww-tay? What's a rusty ew-tay?'," Mr Blake said.

As for the local residents, the Blakes said the support had been great.

"We held a fundraising event in August last year for Suicide Prevention Australia," Mrs Blake said.

"We invited a number of car clubs out and had a car show and markets. A band with rock'n'roll dancers came out and we thought it was pretty successful for our first one."

In total $1600 was raised, and they had an eye on the future.

"Everyone asked if we can do another one this year."

About 150 to 200 people helped raise the $1600 for the charity.

Topics:  betterbusiness cafe gympie business lower wonga woolooga

Gympie Times

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Toogoolawah's teachers learn to brie cheese makers

SAY CHEESE: Toogoolawah State High School teachers Susan McConnel (left) and Leanora Donnelly separate the curd.

They'll pass their skills on to the students

Older rivals no match for Montana on way to world titles

POCKET ROCKET: 10-year-old Montana Dunn, with horse Candee, will compete at the NBHA Youth World Championships.

She will compete at the NBHA Youth World Championships.

Rotary suits Carolyn Becker to a tee

Rotary Club of Lockyer Valley secretary Carolyn Becker.

Get to know Rotary Club of Lockyer Valley secretary Carolyn Becker.

Local Partners