They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Australians like to pride ourselves on our ingenuity. The Jacques family of North Queensland were determined to make a go of coffee growing, so Nat Jacques teamed up with a crew of ship-building engineers from NQEA in Cairns to come up with a way around the high costs of labour.
Their invention would revolutionise the coffee growing industry worldwide.
Coffee Shuttle One first rolled across the Atherton Tableland property in 1983. Based on the grape pickers used by the wine industry, the Shuttle allowed Nat Jacques to drive over the rows of trees, agitating the ripe cherries from the branches and collecting them on conveyor belts before being sorted, cleaned and pulped in the harvester. The original promotional video can be seen here.