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Weed warrior moves to foreign pastures

A WORLD AWAY: After a successful career combating weeds with the State Government, Steve Walker is heading to Spain to run a boutique hotel.
A WORLD AWAY: After a successful career combating weeds with the State Government, Steve Walker is heading to Spain to run a boutique hotel. Bev Lacey

YOU would be hard-pressed finding a weed in Steve Walker's backyard.

For the past 40 years, Mr Walker has been a conduit between the State Government, producers and scientists working to eradicate weeds and advance technology and understanding of the farmers' arch nemesis.

But after what he called a stimulating career, Mr Walker said it was time to try something different.

Mr Walker began his career working as a regional weed agronomist in the South Burnett region.

Following that, he moved to Biloela, where he was the weeds manager for the Central Queensland region.

But he had the desire to further his knowledge and wanted to complete his PhD, which he did while on leave from the State Government and studied in Perth.

But it was back to Queensland three years after moving across the country and a change from looking at weeds in a crop and managing their spread.

"I have had an amazing job for 40 years, which I have enjoyed immensely," he said.

He and his wife Sue will take over the reins of a bed and breakfast in a small village south of Seville in Spain on January 6.

"We know the owner via a very good friend and she's been running the bed and breakfast on her own for many years," he said.

"We mentioned we were thinking of finishing up work for a number of years and as she knew I was learning Spanish, she said we would be perfect to run it. Finally we made the decision."

Mr Walker said the two years of external Spanish language studies at the University of New England had stood him in good stead for the career change, but he was looking forward to immersing himself in the culture of his new country.

"The bed and breakfast is quite unique - it's like a boutique hotel, except the owners, or us, will be living there," he said.

"It's in a little village and not the city, so we will hopefully get to know the locals, experience the culture, and the amazing foods."

Although the move isn't permanent, Mr Walker said he wouldn't be returning to work.

"I'm not leaving a gap in the knowledge, and the team that I have worked with has been instrumental in the new understandings," he said.

Topics:  biosecurity people profile weeds