Australian Idol legend Shannon Noll has opened up about the nightmare incident that changed his life forever in an emotional new interview.
Speaking exclusively to Who’s new celebrity interview podcast, Who Are You with Pete Timbs, Shannon shared new details of the terrible accident on the family’s Condobolin farm that took his dad Noel's life, back in 2001.
Describing an idyllic youth growing up in western NSW before the accident, the star says that he enjoyed a free-ranging childhood with his two older brothers, Adam and Damian, while under the watchful eye of parents Neil and Sharyn.
‘Dad was always the officiator who looked after me,’ he said of the family dynamic before the accident. ‘If I was getting roughed up by the big brothers he’s step in and take care of it.’
But the happy memories came to an abrupt end one day in 2001, when Shannon came across the horrible scene of his father, stricken and lying on the ground, after a large tank collapsed on him during routine farm work.
‘That was a pretty hectic day, that one, burned into the memory banks for better or worse,’ he reveals in the emotional podcast.
‘It was a moving overhead fuel tank, there were two beside each other. My brother and my dad were lowering one down into the ute and a leg buckled and crumpled, then the other one collapsed and got him in the back of the head.’
Looking back on that terrible day, the family’s frantic but futile rush to the hospital remains very much at the front of Shannon’s mind.
‘It was just a silly accident, mate,’ he recalls, his voice etched with regret. ‘We just raced down to our grandparents’ house and grabbed the car, and put him in the back and raced him to town from there.
‘We were just in a mad rush to the hospital and try to get him in there as quick as we could. We didn’t make it in time I don’t think, to be honest.
‘It was a sad day, and lives changed forever after that day I tell you.’
The devastating aftermath of his father’s death included years of drought – a culmination of terrible luck that meant the family had to sell their farm. Ultimately, much of Shannon’s Australian Idol fortune went on cleaning up the financial mess.
‘My brother Damian and I tried to carry on and farm our way out of the debt, but it failed two years in a row because of a drought.
‘So we decided to put it on the market while we still had a tiny bit of equity left in it to buy mum a house. Or else we would have been marched off the place I’d expect.
‘Dad used to say we were the biggest gamblers in the world because we were gambling on the weather. You can’t predict when it’s going to rain and as it turned out it didn’t for ten years.’
Shannon has had plenty of ups and downs since the family tragedy, and has found himself in the headlines again this week. Hear what he say to say in the debut episode of Who Are You, available now. Listen below or subscribe on iTunes http://po.st/RxVC07 or OMNY http://po.st/SedGya.