A near miss in an underground mine a year ago has been the catalyst for Mackay man Sean Farquhar to turn his back on the coal industry and become a farmer.

Late in the afternoon of May 6, 2020, elevated levels of methane gas ignited, causing an explosion at the Grosvenor coal mine near Moranbah in central Queensland. 

Five men were severely injured.

Miner Sean Farquhar was just 100 metres from the blast. 

“It’s not an experience I would want anyone to have to go through,” Mr Farquhar said. 

He was one of the last vehicles to evacuate the mine, after checking to ensure no-one was left behind.  

A road leading the an entrance of the mine site, which has lots of street lights and signs.

Five people were injuried in the Grosvenor coal mine explosion in 2020; many more suffered psychological trauma.(

ABC News: Jemima Burt


Being so close to disaster lead Mr Farquhar to re-evaluate his priorities. 

“I never really thought anything like that would happen, because we thought we had full control over everything,” Mr Farquhar said. 

Mr Farquhar had already been growing vegetables on his plot of land, and decided to take the leap into growing produce full-time. 

From underground to in the ground 

It was not a simple switch, however, as Mr Farquhar said moving from coal mining to farming involved taking on a number of new roles.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be an underground worker,” he said.

“You have to be an all-rounder to be a farmer.” 

A close up of a radish in a man's hand

Sean Farquhar says becoming a farmer means learning a range of new skills. (

ABC Rural: Melanie Groves


The other challenge of becoming a farmer was going from being employed and receiving regular pay-cheques to starting his own business.

“That’s the biggest learning curve. It’s not a breeze, it’s not easy,” Mr Farquhar said. 

“So what do you want to do? Do you want to eat or do you want to go back and work for somebody else?” 

Ultimately, for Mr Farquhar, going though a life-changing experience made him grateful for what he had. 

“I just got very, very lucky and I thank my lucky stars I’m here today, and I’m going to use this opportunity to do something good.” 


How surviving an underground explosion changed this man’s life
Source 1


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