QUALIFIED: Tom Linnan, 84, has obtained his forklift licence for the first time, allowing him to continue working at the family farm in Lake Clarendon.
QUALIFIED: Tom Linnan, 84, has obtained his forklift licence for the first time, allowing him to continue working at the family farm in Lake Clarendon. ALI KUCHEL

Tom takes on training challenge to keep his job

AFTER a lifetime on the farm, 84-year-old Tom Linnan has faced one of his most challenging tests yet.

The third-generation farmer was required to pass an exam to obtain his forklift licence so he could continue to work on the family farm.

Records show he is the eldest person to achieve his forklift licence from SWQ Training.

Tom studied for two months prior to the practical and theoretical assessment to ensure he passed and could continue to empty vegetable cut-offs in the packing shed.

It is a job he has done for 60 years.

While he admitted to having plenty of nerves, Tom passed the test on his first attempt.

"It was mostly about safety and preventing accidents from happening," he said.

"There wasn't any forklifts back in my day.

"I actually started off in the horse days, using the horses for work."

While Tom doesn't have any set jobs, he just carries out tasks he wants to do.

From emptying the vegetable offcuts with a tractor forklift to spraying weeds, he is happy to lend a hand on the farm that's now run by his sons.

"I'm happy to be here with the boys," he said.

"I just like to be around, and I think the boys like having me around too."

When Tom isn't tending to the vegetables, he is kept busy running about 50 droughtmaster cattle.

"It has gone from one horse power to tractors I can't even drive because they've got GPS in them," Tom said.

His grandfather Patrick Linnan bought the original farm at Lake Clarendon back in 1915, and it has remained in the family ever since.

Today, Tom's son Tim runs the farming operation, which mostly grows broccolini and shallots.

"It's great to still have dad on the farm lending a hand," Tim said.

"He was pretty chuffed to get his certificate."