YESTERDAY afternoon Graham Buchner thought he was being shouted a free coffee and checking out some fresh potholes with mate David Kemp.

The last thing he expected was a brand spanking new $30,000 mower.

A crowd of 12 donors were standing outside Southern Downs Ag waiting for Mr Buchner's arrival, and when he showed up his first words gave away his obviousness to the surprise.

"What? Are we donating this to council?" he laughed.

It was only once up in the seat, checking out the flash buttons, toying with the key and reclining in the plush seat the truth was revealed.

"A few of us got together and reckoned a good cause would be to get Graham Buchner a new mower," Stuart Judd said.

"We all threw a bit of money in the hat, and we'd like to give you this new mower to continue all the wonderful work you do.

"And everybody I approached to contribute to this instantly said, yep, I'm in, count me in.

"Not even one said 'Let me think about it'."


Mr Buchner mows the stretch of highway from Glengallan Rd to Campbells Gully atop his 15-year-old red mower, one Stuart Judd noted was on its last legs.

"A group of us were having a couple of cans, and Graham's mower was in eye shot," he said.

"We thought it had seen some hard work and was at the end of its life.

"We spoke to Agco, told them about Graham and they said, 'Do what you have to do."

Southern Downs Ag will also provide maintenance to the mower for as long as Graham is at the wheel, and Frasers Livestock Transport and Wickam Freight Lines will supply free fuel.

After thanking the crowd who each donated about $2000 towards his new set of wheels, Mr Buchner schemed his first plan for the mower.

"I'll tell you what, I'd like to take this home to my place," he said.

"Margaret comes home at lunch time tomorrow... and we say she goes away for her holiday and I have mine at home

"I'd love to have this in the driveway, and she can say 'What the hell have you done?"

Mr Buchner had no hesitation doing some laps in the Southern Downs Ag car park.

And then he was off, down the drive way, across the New England Hwy, ready to park the new mower on his front lawn.

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