Phil Day’s green thumb sprouted in the red soils of the Redlands, where he grew up on a small cropping farm with his mum and dad Frank and Judy and his sisters Tracey and Sue.
But it really took root when his dad swapped their 24 acres at Wellington Point for 335 acres at Tabooba, 20 minutes south of Beaudesert.
The family moved to Tabooba when Phil was eight years old. He caught the bus along Christmas Creek Road to Laravale State School, which only had 14 kids and one teacher.
Fast forward 50 years and Phil, now 58, and his wife Sue still live on 40 acres of the family property, where they’ve raised their own three kids.
Phil Day is thinking of doing some renovations to the cubby house he built for his kids.
It’s a tiny weatherboard cottage complete with a faux fireplace, set in the well-kept gardens and tractor memorabilia which surround the family home they built 35 years ago.
Phil and Sue have five grandkids and another one on the way, so these are the kinds of projects that occupy his thoughts.
Tractors rate highly, too, and there are jokes about how Sue is well and truly onto Phil’s obsession with old tractor parts.
“I love old tractors and anything rustic and always have. Growing up on the farm you develop a love of those sorts of things,” he said.
From the moment Phil could hold a pencil, he was drawing.
“Mum still has some of my embarrassing old drawings from when I was a little kid, and she always encouraged it,” he said.
His influences were broad, from Disney cartoons on television to Footrot Flats, Jolliffe’s Outback, Bluey and Curley and Wally and the Major.
His ‘Maggie’ comic has won national awards and has been loved by locals for decades.
Maggie started being published in the Beaudesert Times 30 years ago, when Phil would photocopy it in black and white and slip it under the door of the old William Street office.
The popular comic is also printed in the Canungra Times and Sunshine Coast Hinterlander, and there are still copies kicking around of the Maggie book.
Excitingly, the popular Maggie calendar is making a resurgence for 2022, printed by the Beaudesert Bulletin’s SRM Print.
When Phil met Sue, he knew there was something special about her.
They started dating when Phil was a leader and Sue was a nurse on a youth camp at Alexandra Headland. Two years later, on the same camp, he asked her to marry him.
They’ve been married 35 years now, and they’ve made a life Phil is grateful for.
“Family is what’s most important, and finding happiness in the simple things,” he said.