Agriculture has emerged as Australia’s most dangerous industry for a third consecutive year, a recent study has found.
Results of the study conducted by Finder Insights did not surprise Wallabadah’s Laurice McGilchrist, who knows firsthand how dangerous life on the land can be.
In 2012 Laurice was assisting her husband Doug to bring in the family’s herd of black Angus cattle when things took a devastating turn.
As a cow was in the process of birth, it turned on Laurice, gored her to the ground and continued to stomp and headbutt her.
The result of the attack was substantial - 14 broken ribs, a fractured eye socket and a deep cut to the neck that narrowly missed vital arteries.
“I am very lucky to be alive,” Mrs McGilchrist said.
“I don’t remember anything from the accident, my husband told me after, he ran from the next paddock and found me face down on the ground, so obviously I had rolled onto my front to try and protect myself.
“Obviously the cow had a real go at me.”
The Wallabadah woman said the recovery from her injuries was a “long road”.
“After initially being airlifted to Tamworth hospital, I was quickly transferred on to John Hunter hospital in Newcastle,” she said.
“I spent the next week in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at John Hunter, followed by another week in hospital in Tamworth.
“My doctor said it was the worst eye socket injury he’d ever seen.” In the six years since the accident, the mental scars still linger.
“I am a lot better with it now, but at the time anytime someone mentioned it I would cry,” Mrs McGilchrist said.
“Six years on I still have sensitive ribs and a sensitive back.
“Now I will get involved when handling the cattle from the other side of the fence, but for three or four years there I wouldn’t go near them.
“I was just too scared of them.”
Mrs McGilchrist said others should learn from her experience.
“Phones are a must on the farm,” she said.
“I know the hardest part of the accident for my husband Doug was having to leave me in the paddock while he rushed to get to a phone.”
The Wallabadah local said people in agriculture should “expect the unexpected”.
“You just never know what might happen,” she said.
The study revealed that in 2016 alone, 44 fatalities and 3510 serious injuries were recorded in the agriculture industry.