Book tells of rags to riches tale
A REMARKABLE story of determination and grit, Ipswich property mogul Jeff Cooper's life is set to be immortalised in print, with proceeds from the sale of the book helping fund research into Parkinson's disease.
Despite being diagnosed with the disease in the mid 1990s, Mr Cooper courageously battled on and continues to remain actively involved in growing the family business.
The House that Jeff Built was written by his friend of 10 years, John Goddard, to celebrate the quiet achiever.
Leaving behind a scarred childhood at 15 to be a PMG technician, Mr Cooper's entrepreneurial talents were evident at an early age when he started crocodile trading at 16, which was closely followed by acquiring four houses, three laundromats and several hundred Space Invader machines by 22.
By the time he was 30, he had acquired his first caravan park, a shopping centre development and completed several terms as a Moreton Shire Councillor.
Now 55, Mr Cooper together with his family, is one of Ipswich's largest developers with interests in property, shopping centres, caravan parks, motels, residential developments and industrial estates.
Mr Goddard said he found the inspiration for the book after helping his friend write a speech for an Apprenticeships Queensland dinner in 2004.
“I thought it was a hell of a life,” Mr Goddard said.
“He left home at 15 with nothing.
“From that he built a business empire.”
The House That Jeff Built will be launched at the Ipswich Art Gallery on July 1, with proceeds donated to the University of Queensland's Centre for Clinical Research.