Ipswich icon Garth Llewelyn says his love for Ipswich has only grown stronger over the years and is adamant the future of the city is looking as bright as ever.
And at 84 years of age, Garth should know a thing or two about the city he loves so dearly, with deep family roots across Ipswich dating back generations.
From his famous motoring brother Ross all the way back to his grandad Benjamin, the Llewelyn family name has become synonymous with the growth of Ipswich from its humble mining town origins to booming 21st century metropolis.
“I’m sure that the Llewellyn name has got a good name,” Garth says.
That good name, according to Garth, comes down to two critical factors that inescapably intertwine both the history of the Llewellyn family and the growth of Ipswich itself.
The first originates from Ipswich’s humble beginnings as a hard-working mining town.
“My grandad came to Ipswich from Wales and worked as a miner, and in those days that job was tough stuff,” Garth says.
“The way the miners worked, and I’m talking about a pick and shovel, not the mechanical stuff we have nowadays, was very physically demanding.
“I believe it was the mining industry that gave Ipswich its fantastic community spirit.
“Working in the mines together back in those days, the mentality was your life depends on me and my life depends on you, and that created a goodwill factor which has been the basis of the city of Ipswich.”
It is this inescapable goodwill factor that Garth attributes to his own values he learned growing up in Ipswich.
Values which Garth says really hit home through the actions of his mother and father Edna and Goff who, after losing work at the mines during the great depression, opened the general store in Milbong that operated between Ipswich and Boonah for 14 years.
“Mum was a storekeeper, and you can just about bet that every second Sunday a kid riding on his horse would arrive with an order but sadly without money to pay for it,” Garth recalled.
Despite the challenging times, Garth says his mother and father would open the shop and serve those in need.
“Dad would always go out and open the store to serve them because the kids and their families might not have had anything to eat.
“But he never sent anybody away without their stuff and I believe that goodwill is a major factor in anything that we do, and I suppose that’s why mum and dad did so well in Milbong.”
These lessons learned from Garth’s parents and the goodwill he felt surrounded by in Ipswich manifested into what would become his own burgeoning career in real estate.
When Garth began all the way back in 1959 for then industry giants Jackson & Meyers on Bell Street, it was his belief in doing right by others that saw him progress into an award-winning agent and form his powerhouse Real Estate company, First National Action realty.
“I owned some cabs before I went into real estate and I’d say to people if they ever went on holidays and couldn’t find anybody to feed their chooks, that we’d do it,” Garth said.
“If those people were ever going to sell, not that you do it for that reason, who do you think they might call to arrange that.
“So, I think things do have a spiraling affect right across the board, and that good will factor is certainly in ourselves.
“You depend on me; I depend on you.”
Garth says it is that mentality, along with the values instilled in him by his parents and the wider community, which have been the basis of all his business decisions.
“You do the right thing by people and be straightforward with them, and that’s how I would decide on a salesperson for Action Realty,” Garth says.
“I never ever thought of the money angle, that wasn’t the motivation, the motivation was just to do what you can do to the best of your ability.”
As for what’s next, Garth says Ipswich’s future will continue to be a bright one.
“More Brisbane people will consider their prospects and say, ‘well hang on, if we live in Ipswich, we’re only half an hour on the train but housing prices are much cheaper.’” he said.
“Then you think of all the other factors, we have great schools here and it has also got that unbeatable community atmosphere.
“Ipswich people across the board are genuine people.”
In typical fashion, Garth could not attribute Ipswich’s bright future to any one thing or person.
“There is nobody that I can think of that hasn’t, but nobody did it,” Garth says earnestly.
And Garth would know, having travelled extensively across Australia and overseas Garth says Ipswich’s goodwill factor has stayed true to its origins even after all these years.
“Ipswich is the greatest place on Earth,” Garth says.