Flood family claim the Beaudesert blue

Alwyn Todd and Cheryl Bizzell are holding a Queensland blue pumpkin, which is said to have developed by the Beaudesert blue pumpkin. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia.
Alwyn Todd and Cheryl Bizzell are holding a Queensland blue pumpkin, which is said to have developed by the Beaudesert blue pumpkin. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia.

TWO Beaudesert residents have challenged town legends and believe their family created the Beaudesert blue pumpkin.

Cousins Alwyn Todd and Cheryl Bizzell believe their grandfather Arthur Flood invented the Beaudesert blue pumpkin by crossing seeds of the ironbark, button and crown variety.

“There are different stories about how it originated but it was certainly in the Josephville, Beaudesert and Sandy Creek area,” Mr Todd said.

“The descendants of the different families had their ideas that their families bred it first but the facts are – in the 1920s – it was being marketed by the Flood, the Dennis and the Balmer families.”

Mr Todd said he began planting and saving the seeds at his family farm in Laravale when he was eight-years-old and continued to work there until he was in his 60s.

“Each year, we would scrape the seed out of a nice pumpkin, dry them out and use them for next year’s planting,” he said.

Ms Bizzell said a search for existing Beaudesert blue pumpkin seeds began when she attended Jerry Coleby-Williams’ seminar in Beaudesert on January 20.

She said during his speech, Mr Coleby-Williams mentioned that locally-grown vegetables such as the Beaudesert blue pumpkin were becoming extinct.

Ms Bizzell said she then called her relatives to find any existing seeds.

However, the last seeds her cousins had kept were thrown out about 12 months ago.

Mr Todd said he believed his grandfather invented the pumpkin because of family stories he had been told but suspected “no one would ever know for certain” who planted the first seeds without proof.

Ms Bizzell said many locals believed the Ludwigs invented the pumpkin because members of the family had won prizes in the past at the Beaudesert Show.

Like Mr Todd, she said she was also sent to help at the farm when she was 10-years-old and described the pumpkin as sweet and known for its dry texture.

“I remember them growing it because we would be called in every now and then to go down and help bag them,” she said.

“Alwyn would drive the tractor down, his father would be there cutting them and I would be picking them up and putting them on the trailer.”

As reported previously in the Times, Mr Coleby-Williams said as a Seed Savers Network director, he conserved rare and threatened vegetation and sparked the search for the seeds.

“The Beaudesert blue is something we managed to find through a gardener in the Scenic Rim,” he said.

“Beaudesert’s floral emblem used to be the Beaudesert Blue Pumpkin, which was produced here – it was very famous for producing Queensland blue pumpkin.”