Bargain of the century

Maureen and Alan Chaplin picked up a Goomeri land bargain at auction on the weekend.
Maureen and Alan Chaplin picked up a Goomeri land bargain at auction on the weekend. David Crossley

FIFTEEN thousand dollars doesn’t buy you much these days, but in Goomeri it gets you a block of land.

The vacant, unserviced residential block on a hill near the centre of town was one of two Gympie Region Council-owned blocks to go under the hammer as part of Goomeri’s centenary celebrations on the weekend.

The second block, situated a bit further up the hill with views of town, sold for $19,500 – about half the price of the cheapest similar block on the market.

Goomeri business couple Alan and Maureen Chaplin snapped up both blocks for the bargain price.

“We live in Goomeri and the land came up for sale and we said ‘Blow it’,” Mr Chaplin said. “Fifteen thousand dollars – you can’t buy anything for that kind of money.”

The Chaplins are planning to hang on to the land until they work out what to do with it.

“They are not making any more (land) so we might as well buy what we can afford,” Mr Chaplin said.

Mr and Mrs Chaplin arrived in Australia seven years ago from London.

“We settled in Goomeri and haven’t moved since,” Mr Chaplin said.

“We don’t love the place, we adore it. There is no crime, the people are beautiful and it is a friendly place.”

Nicki Rossi, from Lawson’s Realty in Goomeri, agrees with Mr Chaplin.

“It is a great place to bring up kids. We have been here 20 years, it is peaceful and the crime rate is zilch,” Mrs Rossi said.

She said Goomeri was a great place for people on a budget looking for a tree change. Her agency had blocks of land, similar to the one bought by the Chaplins, on their books for $40,000 to $45,000.

“You can pick up a great three-bedroom home for under $200,000. Our cheapest is $139,000,” Mrs Rossi said.

Gympie Region Mayor Ron Dyne said the money from the sale of the land would go into council consolidated revenue.

“The land was made available for the auction as part of the Goomeri centenary celebrations,” Councillor Dyne said. “Goomeri was formed after a land auction 100 years ago.

“The money hasn’t been earmarked for any project, it will go into council coffers.”

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