Becks' estate up for grabs

IT'S "destination unknown" for popular tourist attraction Melaleuca Station as its owners -- former Tweed political figures, Lynne and Don Beck -- initiate a campaign they hope will help find a buyer and a purpose for the estate. Mr Beck, who has lived with his wife on the Chinderah property for the past three years, said he was interested to see what proposals were attracted in an offer-to-purchase campaign by Colliers International real estate.

The fact that this property is on the market at all will come as a surprise to the Tweed community, which barely two years ago were confronted with the Becks' announcement that Melaleuca Station would house a crematorium and mortuary.

Signs advertising the "new Melaleuca Funeral Centre" even sprung up at a local bowls club. This venture, its seems, was short-lived and even after a zoning rule change approved by Tweed shire administrators, the crematorium never saw the light of day.

The property was bought by the Becks for an undisclosed amount in 2005, and Mr Beck has still not openly put a dollar value on the estate.

"I have no idea how much money we could get for Melaleuca Station," Mr Beck said.

"Colliers are handling the sale, and through them we are open to look at offers and ideas."

Mr Beck, a former National Party state member, said the decision to sell was due to a desire for "quieter times".

"My wife and I are aged in our 70s now and are really just looking to lead a more relaxed life after spending so many years in the very public political arena."

Lynne Beck is a former Tweed mayor who was deputy mayor when the council was sacked in 2005. Melaleuca Station features a recreated 1920's Victorian Railway Station with a train that passes through the property's tea-tree plantations, extensive sugarcane fields and an animal nursery. It also boasts a distillery for processing tea-tree oil, large machinery sheds and stockyards and a 2285sqm building with licensed coffee shop and restaurant, offices, residence and associated facilities.

It is now able to serve a wide range of uses that include a crematorium, mortuary and associated facilities; the tourist-related attractions it already houses; or, subject to approval, a truck stop or service station to service M1 bound traffic, and a sand extraction business.

Colliers International Gold Coast senior executive, Kit Titheradge, said the property presented plenty of opportunities for its new owners and a wide range of businesses had registered interest.

"I have received interest from an array of industries, from a national funeral operator to a tourism operator and a charity who want to process and dry fruit to send to third world countries," Mr Titheradge said.

While the sale of the whole property was preferable, Mr Titheradge said the estate comprised four titles and could possibly be sold off in smaller lots -- but only as a last resort.

"This diverse range of possible uses has led to a strong enquiry from a varied field of potential purchasers," he said.

"About four or five people are doing their numbers at the moment, so we are looking forward to seeing what they come up with."

Mr Beck said he was "relaxed" when it came to Melaleuca's destiny, and would miss the property.

"We have spent three years living here, waking up in a magnificent environment, with a variety of birdlife and Mount Warning in the distance," Mr Beck said.

"The Tweed River, which runs alongside the property, is perfect for fishing, crabbing and enjoying barbecues, which further adds to its appeal."

Mr Beck said he and his wife would move out once a sale was completed.

"If it ends up that we haven't found another home in time, then we'll just take another 'around the world' trip," Mr Beck said.

"What is certain is that we will always live in the Tweed area ... you'd need a crowbar to get Lynne out of this area."

The offer-to-purchase campaign closes on May 15.

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