A Murray Valley dairy farm which has seven full-time employees has deliberately moved away from using quad bikes because of their dangerous history.
He’s dressed in jeans, a polar fleece and an open neck shirt revealing the tracheostomy tube in his neck.
He’s wearing a cap with the logo of a local pasture seed company.
“Do you want to shake hands, I can still shake hands,” he says.
Colin is paralysed from the chest down.
It's taken him three years of daily exercises and regular therapy to develop the grip in his right hand.
“The biggest thing about my accident was losing my finger use,” he says.
“When you look at farming you use your fingers every day, and I lost all that.”
He can now pick up a pen, do the farm bookwork and, significantly, he has the strength to drive his modified car.
With ingenuity and determination he’s also found ways to get through some basic daily tasks.
“For shaving myself I have a bit of milk tubing on the handle and I worked out a way of applying the shaving cream," he says.
“For feeding myself I have the same thing, a spoon with a bit of milk tubing on it. But don’t get me wrong, I still need help.”
The kitchen window looks out over the paddocks where his Dad taught him to farm.
It’s the same Warragul property where he milked cows for 45 years, and the place where he and his wife Jenny raised their two kids.
Prior to the accident, at Jenny’s insistence, the couple were preparing for semi-retirement.
There were plans to travel Australia with a camper trailer, picking up contract work along the way.
The share-farming agreement they had entered into would see Jenny and Colin free to spend more time away from the 220-hectare property and its 275-head milking herd.
Colin doesn’t go into detail about the accident in late September 2011 that dramatically changed those plans.
He reveals that it happened during a quiet time on the farm.
Calving and joining was done and Colin was turning his mind to his daughter Robyn’s imminent wedding.
He also reveals the accident involved a tractor and machinery.
“I don’t actually know what happened exactly,” he says.
“I’ve looked at the situation about 20,000 times and to this day I still can’t tell you exactly what happened.”
Colin was left laying on his back for almost five hours after the accident, the C5/6 spinal injury meaning he was unable to answer the phone ringing in his pocket with calls from friends and family, worried after he’d failed to come home for lunch.
Later that afternoon Jenny discovered her husband.
He was taken by helicopter to Melbourne, hypothermic, severely injured and close to death.
“I said to my brother, ’I’m stuffed’ as they loaded me in the chopper,” Colin says.
Three separate stints in intensive care followed, then 16 months of rehabilitation in hospital.
It was a further 12 months before the couple’s home was modified so they could return.
The emotional and mental recovery took even longer.
“Jenny made me a bit of a diary and it took me two years before I could read it,” Colin says.
"There are cards that I’ve never opened, it’s just one of those things. It took me three years emotionally and psychologically to accept it.”
For Jenny these are the consequences farmers don’t see, the true costs of a farm accident.
“I think the ordinary people, the ordinary farmer, they don’t understand the implications of a serious accident,” Jenny says.
“In the morning you just can’t get up and get out of bed, it just doesn’t happen that quick.
"His morning care is about three hours from when he gets up to when he’s sitting in the chair.
“The requirements of each day before you even look at the farm are quite taxing.”
The financial cost is taxing too.
The home modifications, the new bed and hoist, the car equipped for a wheelchair, plus the host of machinery and technology now needed to keep Colin alive and comfortable in his home cost about $500 000. Around-the-clock care is $300 000 a year.
Those costs are partly covered by insurance and the TAC, a critical financial contribution that is only available because Colin’s tractor had current registration and insurance.
“I think people need to understand the implications of not spending $70 a year on motorbike registration or $80 a year in tractor registration,” Colin says.
Looking back, Jenny and Colin agree they could have been more diligent with farm safety.
Not that they were careless. The ATVs were fitted with roll over bars, equipment was well maintained and there were clear rules to keep visitors and workers safe.
They were experienced, innovative and successful farmers.
“To say I was doing anything stupid, well I wasn’t. I’d just say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Colin says.
“I think farmers walk around with their heads in the clouds. They are naive to the implications, the cost and the consequence of an accident."