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Wellcamp Downs to be sold off to make way for airport

An aerial photo of the Wellcamp Downs stud, to be sold off and demolished by Wagners in March to make way for the new Wellcamp Airport runway.
An aerial photo of the Wellcamp Downs stud, to be sold off and demolished by Wagners in March to make way for the new Wellcamp Airport runway. Contributed

THE gavel is poised to drop on one of the biggest single auctions in Toowoomba's history.

Construction of Wagner's jet-capable airport is moving ahead with the former Wellcamp Downs race-horse stud lying directly in the path of the runway.

Everything from the property's 80 stables to its tractors and hay balers must be sold before grading of the runway can continue.

Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton walks by some of the brick buildings set to go to the highest bidder in March.
Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton walks by some of the brick buildings set to go to the highest bidder in March. Dave Noonan

Elders Toowoomba principal and auctioneer Ross Troy said he had been fielding interest from buyers across the country.

"Basically, everything on the property will be cleared," he said.

"The advertising has started and calls are coming in from far afield."

Elders rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton, principals Ross Troy and Trevor Leishman prepare for the Wellcamp Downs stud auction.Story about Wagners auction at Wellcamp Downs, new airport site. Photo Dave Noonan / The Chronicle
Elders rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton, principals Ross Troy and Trevor Leishman prepare for the Wellcamp Downs stud auction.Story about Wagners auction at Wellcamp Downs, new airport site. Photo Dave Noonan / The Chronicle Dave Noonan

Mr Troy expected the stud's grain machinery to be among the best sellers but a 31ft boat with kitchen and two bunks had also made it to the top of the auction list.

"At this time of the year, with a good harvest awaiting the area, the grain handling equipment is getting a lot of interest," he said.

"It is the end of an era for Wellcamp Downs as we know it.

"The Wagner family has taken the progressive step to build a jet-capable air strip and the (Charlton Wellcamp) industrial park up the top.

"Wellcamp Downs was a one-off property for the Darling Downs going back to the 1970s when it was created.

"It has reached the end of its lifespan and the Wagner family is going the next step."

  • An on-site auction will be held at the Cecil Plains Rd property in Wellcamp at 9am on Saturday, March 23.
Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton and principals Ross Troy and Trevor Leishman prepare to auction the assets of Wellcamp Downs.
Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton and principals Ross Troy and Trevor Leishman prepare to auction the assets of Wellcamp Downs. Dave Noonan

Glamour stud cost millions to establish

THE curtain has closed for Wellcamp Downs, once a world-class thoroughbred complex set up by Alfred Grant in 1974.

In recent years, its focus turned from breeding to training race horses, while maintaining a successful cattle and cropping property.

Cattle will continue to be fed and bred on the far end of the property, away from the airport.

Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton said millions had been spent to create the stud.

"It was built at a time when the real estate industry was just starting to move in Queensland," he said.

"It was going great guns until a change of government, then things went a bit slack.

"(Alfred Grant) slowed down a bit on the stud side of his business as cash dried up a little bit.

In recent years, the property was bought by the Wagner family.

"I spoke to a man that did all the posts and rail fencing... back in those days he was paid about $250,000 for that alone," Mr Loiterton said.

"Mr Grant spent more than $5 million developing this property and Gainsborough Lodge (stud)."

Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton stands at the edge of the graded Wagners Airport runway, to be extended after the Wellcamp Downs auction.
Elders Toowoomba rural sales consultant Bob Loiterton stands at the edge of the graded Wagners Airport runway, to be extended after the Wellcamp Downs auction. Dave Noonan

Airport plan running like clockwork

JOHN Wagner's plan to have a jet-capable airport up and running by July next year is running like clockwork.

Initial grading works on the 2.8km runway are already under way with the second half - currently underneath the Wellcamp Downs stud - due to begin as soon as the property is cleared.

The completed airstrip will finish at Cecil Plains Rd.

Mr Wagner said he was working through issues with the Department of Defence.

This involved the shared use of military air space.

"We're still trying to help find a solution with the authorities," he said.

"But the project is under way and it's full steam ahead."

The biggest issue for the continuation of the runway work will be the removal of four brick houses on the property.

Elders agents plan to dismantle them, load them on trucks and send them on their way.

Getting rid of the masses of heavy machinery, grain silos and sheds will also take time.

"We're doing everything in our power to have (the airport) ready and taking aircraft in the second half of next year," Mr Wagner said.

Topics:  airport, toowoomba, wagners, wellcamp downs




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