“Walter” the Rural Property Buyer

WALK IN’S AND FAIR DINKUM BUYERS

Some time ago, in the early 1980’s, before the internet and mobile phones, prospective property buyers would sometimes come into the office of Lloyd Taylor & Co at Moura without making any prior arrangements. In real estate terms these people are called “walk ins”, common with house sales but not so much with larger rural properties.

On one occasion a gentleman and his two sons from southern NSW came in and made enquiries with Greg Blackmore about country that could be farmed. On asking him how big and how much he would like to spend, he off handedly replied – “About one million, two million”. In those days, $2 million was greater than any single property sale that we had made, so Greg went into Lloyd’s office and said, “I have got some clients here that want to spend two million, and I think they are fair dinkum”.

It turned out that they were, and we were able to fit them up with a good property with irrigation potential, west of Moura on the Comet River.

WALTER, THE PROFESSIONAL BUYER

At another time, a fellow, who we shall call Walter, came into our office and said he was looking for property and was related to the Russell family of Jimbour Homestead.

Jimbour Homestead

He also indicated that his capabilities were significant and we went through some listings with him before arranging to fly him in our Cessna 182, up to Nash’s property, “Bundaleer” on the Mackenzie River, north of Dingo and just off the Dingo – Mt Flora Beef Road.

The inspection went well and he was most happy with what he saw and had very few questions. At the end of the inspection and over lunch or a cup of tea a deal was reached and Walter agreed, to our surprise, to go ahead and purchase without negotiating the asking price.

Mackenzie River area North of Dingo

We then arranged an appointment with a solicitor at Rees R & Sydney Jones in Rockhampton for the next day and then flew back to Moura to overnight.

The following day we flew into Rockhampton early and met with the solicitor and worked out the details of the Contract.

Rees R & Sydney Jones offices at Quay Street, Rockhampton

After this was done Walter suggested that he would buy us all lunch up at the Criterion Hotel whilst the Contracts were being typed up.

We are not sure whether he stayed, or paid, for lunch, but when the time came to go back to the solicitors office and sign the Contract, he was nowhere to be seen and was never seen again.

The Criterion Hotel, Rockhampton

We can’t recall his real name but did hear later that he was a gardener at a bowling club on the Darling Downs, was no relation to the Russell family, and that he may have used other names, for similar Walter Mitty adventures!

CONTRACTS AND SELLER’S REGRET

Getting Contracts signed was sometimes a delicate operation. Greg can recall that we had arranged to take a client to inspect a fairly large property south of Bauhinia Downs, that was up against the ranges and was one of the original holdings in the district.

The elderly gentleman who owned the place had obviously forgotten we were coming so when we turned up he seemed most impatient and took us around the property at great speed in his Land Rover.

At that time we were still driving second hand cars from Government Auctions and relied on the property owners to show us around in their tray back utilities. A few years later we upgraded to our own 4 wheel drives, especially as more cultivated properties were sold and farmers had less time to be involved with inspections.

Anyway a deal was done and again a trip to Rockhampton to prepare contracts was arranged.

Again we left for lunch, as the solicitor had the Contracts typed up, and we agreed to meet back at the office at 1pm. The property owner, was overnighting, and had a room booked at the Golden Fountain Hotel on Gladstone Road so he called in there for a rest whilst waiting.

The Golden Fountain Motel, Rockhampton.

1pm came around and Greg Blackmore called by the motel to pick up the property owner, who immediately “bailed up” on returning to the solicitors office on time, or possibly at all!

This elderly gentleman was not going to be pushed around, so Greg had to just “chew the fat” with him until, finally, he made his own decision, in his own good time, to return to the solicitors office.

In this case, all ended well, the Contract was signed and the property changed hands.

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