Rafter Country: How property fulfilled a champion family

first_imgJim Rafter led the family through the development of 140-plus hectares of land over four decades. Picture: Sharyn Rosewarne.IN the rolling green hills of Eumundi, two hours north of Brisbane, the Rafter family began a 140Ha property dream that would fuel an Aussie world tennis champion.Fresh from a stint with MIM in Mount Isa, Jim and Jocelyn Rafter had returned to their old stomping ground, buying a homestead set on over 140 hectares where they would raise their nine children.It was the late 70s and Geoff Rafter — older brother of Pat who went on to rule the tennis world — was about nine at the time.“All up it was 350 acres originally,” he told The Sunday Mail. “At that time it was infested with groundsel that the council had brought in. That was a nightmare.“It was a lot of hard work to get it up to scratch. We cleaned a bit, then a bit more, then put some cattle on to keep it down, but years and years went by before it was ready (for development).”The Rafter clan in a clipping from Jim and Jocelyn’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1986. Standing from L: Louise, Theresa, Geoffrey, Peter, Maree, Stephen. Front: Patrick (Pat), Jocelyn, Michael, Jim and David.RELATED: Pat Rafter’s $15.2m paydayBig enough for dozens of tennis courtsGet The Courier-Mail’s real estate newsletter freeThe area was always considered home by the Rafters — their parents had first laid eyes on each other in Gympie many moons before.“That’s where they (Jim and Jocelyn) grew up. Dad’s father spent a lot of time there. Dad himself spent time in Beerwah and Eumundi, Yandina, Nambour up to Gympie that’s where he met Mum.“Dads’ father had retired to Peregian Beach, he’d had the Yandina pub. That was why mum and dad came back and forth to the area. Mt Isa was home (for a while) and eventually they finished up there and moved back to the Eumundi area.”As the roads got better, more people wanted to move to the area, and the logical step was subdividing the land.One of the houses built in Rafter Country to promote the subdivision in 2001. Picture: Sharyn Rosewarne.“It was a lot of money to start it off, and there wasn’t a lot of support,” Geoff Rafter said. “It was 22 per cent interest rates, and you just had to stay afloat. Then things changed in a very short time — people couldn’t get land and that made things viable straight away … They’ve been breaking up bits of land for a long time developing the area.”He said with half the kids in school and Pat needing better coaching opportunities in Brisbane, a home was built in Brisbane.“Mum moved to Brisbane to look after Pat and the other kids schooling and universities. When school had finished, they sold there and mum moved back, they had a home in Eumundi and this.”The Rafter kids including Pat (third from left) in their Brisbane home in 1998. Picture: Sandra Priestley.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market18 hours ago“This” ended up going from a massive 140 hectare farm site to over 80 titles spread across multiple streets — two of which bear names linked to the family.“How it works is you put names in to the council and they say no, so then you put in another three. Jocelyn Drive was great because it’s Mum, and Dad wanted to call the others my sister’s names but the council knocked those back. So we went to nature, based on what was there, so Whispering Gum Avenue, Blueberry Lane, Babbling Brook Place.”The one that made the family uncomfortable was the council decision to name a street “Rafter View”.“That wasn’t what we wanted. I suppose it seemed too much like self promotion. We wanted Lemon Myrtle Lane, they said no. Brushbox Court, they said no, and eventually we said we give up, and they said Rafter View (Crest) was what it was going to be.”Mr Rafter said there had been a lot of movement in property prices in the area over the period.Plots that the Rafters sold ranged around the $290,000 mark for blocks around 5,000 sqm — with one homeowner last month selling the designer home they built in Lilly Pilly Rise for $1.15m.Jocelyn and Jim Rafter, parents of tennis player Patrick (Pat) Rafter.“The price has gone up and it’s been frustrating for people trying to buy who think they should have come in 10 years ago. That’s always the way isn’t it? In ten year’s time it will seem like this was worth it but at the time you think I can’t afford that.”One of the most stunning blocks, 108 Panorama Drive, is on the market right now for $1.35m. An offer of a million dollars was turned down last year.“I would imagine it would be turned down again if it came up. The market’s good and it’s a very unique high spot, You’d have to be the right person with the stage of life that can afford it. An architectural home would look really good I would have thought. It has 300 degree views over Noosa, North Shore, the mountains, you get a view of Glasshouse (mountain) through the garden on a nice day. It’s a beautiful block. If it was 3.24 acres of flat land it would be more expensive, but it’s sloping so it’s $1.35m.”108 Panorama Drive, Doonan, QLD.The Rafters themselves still have the original house on 2.91Ha at the top of what was once their 140Ha territory.“Everyone’s moved on. A couple of sisters live on the estate. I’m on the estate, we have some in Brisbane, northern New South Wales. It’s just getting to that time of life, we change and move on.”Geoff Rafter finds the swings and roundabouts in the property market “very interesting”.“It is the end of an era but that’s the way it is. Dad’s in a nursing home and Mum’s getting on to an age. At the time (they started) I don’t know that’s what they thought we’d do in future. But look at it now, Noosa’s gotten bigger and bigger and it helps the hinterland area. It’s added up to be quite a good subdivision in the end but it’s been a long time and a lot of hard work.”FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOKVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:30Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:30 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. 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This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenAREC 2018 promo video00:30last_img read more