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

Police investigate head-on collision

Two people were seriously injured in a head-on collision at Yamba on Saturday, 22nd October, 2016

Two people seriously injured in crash at Yamba

VIDEO: Lucky Meteor strikes back at Grafton

RECORD RUN: Lucky Meteor sprints clear to win the Bloomer Transport and Warehousing Jacca Prelude at the Clarence River Jockey Club yesterday.

John Shelton trained sprinter blitzes Grafton track in record time

OPINION: Memories of Dreamworld as the safe place

Queensland Emergency service personnel are seen at amusement theme park Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. It has been confirmed that the four adult victims who became trapped on a conveyor belt at the theme park after a raft they were in flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday afternoon, have since died. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

Dreamworld was always the safe place to have big fun

Local Partners

WATCH: Junior Queen gets silver screen royal treatment

NEW documentary explores the festival's 20-year-old quest as former candidates share their stories and experiences.

Tea party with the 'Queen'

TRADITION: 1955 Jacaranda Queen Stella Wilson sits with reigning 2015 Jacaranda Queen Charlotte White at last year's Jacaranda Afternoon Tea.

Meet the royal patyu in style

Making steps for 'Blacky' in Walk 4 Brain Cancer

Grafton locals are doing a Walk 4 Brain Cancer in Sydney for Robert Black.

Team Blacky aims to better $5000 to battle brain cancer.

Sound of Music star to compere An Afternoon at the Proms

This photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment shows, from left, Chairmian Carr, as Liesl, Nicholas Hammond, as Friedrich, Heather Menzies, as Louisa, Duane Chase, as Kurt, Angela Cartwright, as Brigitta, Debbie Turner, as Marta, Kym Karath, as Gretl, and Christopher Plummer, as Captain Von Trapp, in a scene from the film, \"The Sound of Music.\" The 1965 Oscar-winning film adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical \"The Sound of Music\" is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2015. To honor the milestone, 20th Century Fox is releasing a five-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD collector's edition, the soundtrack is being re-released, the film will be screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood later this month and to over 500 movie theaters in April. (AP Photo/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Saraton's rich history of stage and screen honoured in musical tribu

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.