Maroochydore has lost its last pioneering family farmer and largest private landowner with the unexpected death of Peter Wise on Monday.
The determined 82-year-old was harvesting fresh fruit from his beloved fig trees for his loyal customers up until the day he went to hospital where he passed away after a short stay.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved farmer, Peter Wise – devoted husband, father and grandfather to the Wise family,” his loved ones wrote in a statement.
“Peter was an exceptionally hard-working man who never stopped. His greatest passions in life were farming, family and community.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss and remain committed to his legacy.”
A long history on the Sunshine Coast
The Wise family has been farming on the Sunshine Coast since 1901.
Mr Wise’s British-born grandfather Frederick migrated to Australia chasing gold, before buying the Palmyra property on Buderim Mountain for £800.
After training to be a pilot at the age of 20, Mr Wise fell in love and returned to farming.
He purchased an adjoining 121-hectares of farmland in central Maroochydore between 1965 and 1968.
A section of the Sunshine Motorway, Maroochy Boulevard, the Sunshine Cove canal estate and kilometre-long Harvey Norman Homemaker centre, have all been built on land where visitors were once invited to pick their own fruit and vegetables.
In July 2022, Mr Wise put 35 hectares of his remaining 39 hectares up for sale by private tender and produced a 55-page information book on its history.
A revised development application is still before the local council.
“Time doesn’t stop for anybody and it didn’t stop for me and I just feel that this is the time to do it,” Mr Wise told ABC Rural at the time.
Proud to be an eighth-generation farmer, Mr Wise made millions of dollars from property deals, but never gave up working his land.
Growing a coffee legacy
The farm first grew coffee on Buderim Mountain in the 1880s and that continued until 1952.
Mr Wise last year planted hundreds of descendants from the original trees and he lived to sell the first beans of Buderim Mountain Gold coffee directly to the public from his farm shed last month.
“He was a very proud Australian with a passion for farming and paying homage to his heritage,” his family wrote.
“He was also a strong community advocate, always seeking sound, logical planning outcomes for the Sunshine Coast.”
Mr Wise is survived by Ivy, his wife of 59 years, children Amanda, Kylie and Bradley, and six grandchildren.
“Dad remained fully engaged in the future of the Sunshine Coast. He had extensive local knowledge and knew the land like only a farmer does,” Amanda Hutchings said.
“He also had a strong foresight into the future needs of the Sunshine Coast and continued to lodge detailed submissions to government and meet with politicians to share his knowledge and vision.
“The entire Wise family has been involved in everything grown on the farm over Peter’s lifetime — through choice or no choice!”
Ganddaughter Madeline Dean wrote of Mr Wise’s integrity and work ethic.
“Our grandad Peter Wise devoted a lifetime to the land, passionately honouring the legacy of the generations before him,” she wrote.
“He persevered through setbacks over the years, embodying a relentless determination that never wavered.
“Grandad cultivated a family that dearly holds onto the history and values that he fought so strongly for. We hope that we can honour him in a way that will make him proud.”