News

Island not a fantasy

ON THE MARKET: Hielaman Island near Lower Southgate will go up for auction at Maclean Services Club next Friday.
ON THE MARKET: Hielaman Island near Lower Southgate will go up for auction at Maclean Services Club next Friday. Contributed

IT'S probably a safe bet the item "own my own island" would be a pretty common appearance on many people's fantasy wish lists.

Unfortunately opportunities to make that particular dream come true are a bit like hen's teeth (particularly in the Clarence Valley). Until now that is.

Hielaman Island - a 15.05 hectare parcel of land girt by the Clarence River near Lower Southgate has come on the market for the first time in about 20 years - lock, stock and barrel.

While it's probably not the tropical paradise most people imagine when dreaming of owning an island, it does have a house, areas of lush rainforest, fertile flood-mud soil and even a plantation of Australian cabinet timber to boot.

The property - only accessible by a 9 x 3-metre aluminium barge - is currently owned by Sydney-based couple Dr Lawson Levy and his wife Elizabeth who originally bought Hielaman in 1992 as a kind of rural retreat or "river change" from the busy hustle and bustle of the city.

Dr Levy first fell in love with the Clarence Valley area in the late 1960s when he worked as a junior for a period of time at Grafton Base Hospital, so when looking for a rural paradise to escape to from Sydney from time to time, the Valley was high on the list of potential spots. As a result, when Hielaman came on the market in 1992 the couple snapped it up.

Speaking to the Daily Examiner yesterday, the pair admitted that purchase about 20 years ago had been a bit of a "wild move", at the time but said they had loved every moment on the island which they visited every chance they got.

"It's been an exciting thing to be a part of," Elizabeth said.

"It's a place with a great deal of history and interest."

Shortly after buying the property the couple wanted to know more about its past and enlisted the help of the Grafton Historical Society.

The historical society revealed the island was originally owned by a local veteran of the First World War who settled there in 1917 after being wounded at Gallipoli.

With the help of about 70 locals he cleared the island back from rainforest and established a successful dairy which he ran for decades.

Dr and Mrs Levy said living somewhere with such an interesting local tale just added to the experience.

It wasn't always easy for them though, when they bought the property it was operating as a cane farm. Dr Levy said the pair had to very quickly learn the "in's and out's" of cane farming to keep it running.

"In the early days we'd come up probably a couple of times a month. We'd get out of bed at three in the morning, come tearing up here, work our butts off on the farm then go back again to Sydney for work."

However, it was during these cane-farming years the couple had some of their best experiences on the island. Dr Levy said some of his favourite memories had been times the couple's sons had travelled up to stay and help out with the cane harvests.

He said about eight years ago, the couple got out of the cane business and established a plantation of about 4000 native Australian cabinet timber trees which have grown well in the island's fertile soil.

However now after almost two decades the pair have decided to part ways with the island.

The Levys said they had fewer chances to visit the island these days and said the land deserved to go to someone who would live on it and improve it more.

"We wondered if someone might be able to make more out of the property," Dr Levy said.

If the person was to live on the island, they could make a lot out of it and make the place even more beautiful.".

The couple confessed they had no idea what someone might be willing to pay for the island and Dr Levy said it would be interesting to see the result when the property goes to auction next week Friday.

Hielaman Island will go under the hammer at Maclean Services Club at 12.30pm next Friday.

Topics:  clarence river, island, property


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Primary students experiment in lab

LAB RATS: Minden student Bella Morton and Walloon student Coen Russell enjoying the Faith Lutheran College science day.

Faith Lutheran College hosts its inaugural science day.

Peace Playgroup celebrates decade

YUMMY SCRUMMY: Peace Playgroup children blow out the candles for the 10th birthday celebrations.

Peace Playgroup has proudly celebrated a special milestone.

Faith college fair full of fun

Year 7 FLC students Jayden, Kalani and Clarissa.

Fairly good turn out at Faith

Latest deals and offers

Gatton's Regina Samykanu is making a difference

Regina is bridging gaps with passion and a smile

Primary students experiment in lab

LAB RATS: Minden student Bella Morton and Walloon student Coen Russell enjoying the Faith Lutheran College science day.

Faith Lutheran College hosts its inaugural science day.

Peace Playgroup celebrates decade

YUMMY SCRUMMY: Peace Playgroup children blow out the candles for the 10th birthday celebrations.

Peace Playgroup has proudly celebrated a special milestone.

Faith college fair full of fun

Year 7 FLC students Jayden, Kalani and Clarissa.

Fairly good turn out at Faith

Big crowd visits Gatton's over-50s expo

Dale Ann Dowden, 70, of Gatton enjoying the over 50s Lifestyle Expo.

Seniors learn about Valley's services

Leading the way on multiculturalism

HONOUR: Regina Samykau-Vuthapanich collects her award for Services and Communities individual of the year during the 2016 Queensland Multicultural Awards.

Lockyer Valley local wins at the Queensland Multicultural Awards.

Die-hard fan's 34 magic Gympie Muster years

STICK AROUND FOR A BEER: Mal Williams has been at every Gympie Muster for 34 years.

Mal Williams has only missed one Muster in 35 years - the first one

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa