Home is where the heart is for Ipswich real estate guru
GARTH Llewellyn has enjoyed one of the best seats in the house to watch his beloved Ipswich develop from a small mining town into the city it is today.
Now entering his 86th year, the real estate guru is still going strong and believes the future is looking as bright as ever.
His family landed in the area from Wales to work in the mines and he is proud to still be able to call the place home.
In 1959, he was working as an electrician during the day while driving a taxi at night.
One night he picked up Peter Meyers and after they got talking, he was offered a role selling real estate for his firm Jackson and Meyers.
It was an offer too good to turn down.
He worked with them for a number of years before starting his own real estate business at an office in Bell Arcade in 1964.
In 1971 he purchased premises on Brisbane Street and established a base there.
He played an important part in the development of the Ipswich mall, which he said was the "greatest thing to happen to Ipswich at the time" by purchasing a number of properties for the developers.
"One of the big things that has happened to us is Ipswich is now on the world map. In those days Ipswich was regarded as being a mining town," Mr Llewellyn said.
"The mining industry was a really big industry in those days. Ipswich has grown to no end since then.
"Tell me a place where you can be half an hour from the capital city and one hour from the best beaches in the world.
"I think Ipswich has a great future."
Although the population of Ipswich has swelled and new developments and homes have gone up, Mr Llewellyn found that one thing had always stayed the same.
"Most people want to own their own home," he said.
"In my mind there's no substitute for family.
"People want to have a home that they can call their own, that the kids play in and bring their mates too."
His own mission statement has stayed the same since he first established his business all those years ago.
He has always strived to provide a service that you would have "no hesitation in recommending to your best friend."
A people's person, Mr Llewellyn believed a sincere touch was crucial as people took important steps to owning a place to call their own for years to come.
"I do my darnedest to live by that," he said.
He believes the strong bonds and mateship forged in the mines in Ipswich's early days had been carried on to this day.
He too worked in the mines as an electrician.
"Ipswich is the greatest place on earth as far as I'm concerned," he said.
"If you establish yourself in the Ipswich community, the people here are very loyal."
Although he has sold First National Action Realty, he still heads up the commercial arm of the business.
As sharp as ever, he is starting to slow down in his day-to-day duties but said he didn't put too much stock into his age.
"I don't think about that," he laughed.
"(My family have been here) to see it change to what it is now.
"To be truthful it feels great."