STANDING STRONG: (From left) John
STANDING STRONG: (From left) John "Marto" Martin, Genevieve Martin, shadow minister for tourism Jann Stuckey and Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll at Ferns Hideaway Resort, which is back on its feet after Cyclone Marcia. Chris Ison Rokcferns

Ferns Hideaway couple rising above the chaos of Marcia

THE weekend Cyclone Marcia ripped through the Capricorn Coast, Ferns Hideaway owners Genevieve and John "Marto" Martin started their clean-up with just one slab of concrete.

"We cleared one of our slabs at the front of the restaurant and once we'd done it, we sat and had a wine," Marto said from his restaurant in Byfield.

"We just started doing bit by bit. We weren't going to look out at the bigger picture because it was just too big and too hard to comprehend on where to start."

Their once shaded and green oasis was unrecognisable, the cyclone taking down trees hundreds of years old, leaving their property looking like a disaster zone.

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But their willpower and spirit were not broken and so, with the help of countless kind volunteers, Gen and Marto slowly started to pick up the pieces and recreate their rainforest paradise.

It's now been four months since Marcia hit and it's clear the resilient family business is getting back on its feet.

"When we started the clean-up, we were counting every day. We got up to about day 80 and then we started going back to weeks, so there was a shift in our mindset after that," Marto said.

"But we've had so much support from the community.

"We've had so many people coming up to buy lunch because they've heard about what happened here.

"We had a wedding on Saturday, so it's been great - they have been so good to us."

Shadow minister for tourism Jann Stuckey visited the region last week and stopped at Ferns Hideaway to show her support for the business and Byfield community.

"I think future tourists will see these venues through fresh eyes," Ms Stuckey said of the economic recovery of local business since Marcia.

"Yes, they have been badly affected but every trial and hardship has a flipside and I'm convinced that it's going to be a very rosy one for businesses here."

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