Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crash Claims Man Who Built an Empire

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crash Claims Man Who Built an Empire

Article excerpt

Byline: Nikkii Joyce

A RENOWNED "Aussie bushmana died yesterday after a shocking single-vehicle car crash.

Cedar Hill Flowers and Foliage co-founder Wayne Bennett, 52, was returning to his Verrierdale home after dropping his daughter off at her Peregian Springs school when his vehicle left Verrierdale Road just after 7.30am.

Mr Bennett's four-wheel-drive struck a stand of trees in a 100kmh section of road.

Witnesses who rushed to the scene said they extinguished a small fire before emergency services arrived.

Paramedics said Mr Bennett was trapped and unconscious when they arrived.

Emergency services officers used hydraulic equipment to free Mr Bennett, who suffered extensive head, chest and abdominal injuries.

He died at the scene a short time later.

Colleagues and friends shared their memories of the bushman who built a multi-million dollar international native flora empire.

They said the world would not be the same without him.

"He was a visionary in being able to share his work with the world,a long-time friend and corporate policy adviser Richard Gould said. aWhen everybody else looked up on a walk through the forest, he was always looking on the ground to see what he could find."

Few could have imagined that the orchid growing business Mr Bennett helped establish in 1988 would become an export company grossing $10 million annually.

The company specialises in the development, production and export of unique Australian foliages and cut flowers through a sustainable and environmentally friendly harvesting operation.

It employs more than 120 staff and is one of Australia's largest producers of native flowers and foliage.

Mr Bennett leaves behind his wife of more than 20 years, Julie, and his children, Jack and Tess.

Mr Gould said his friend's family had not even begun to comprehend the tragedy of what occurred only hours earlier. …

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