WAMBO Shire Council may have only $48 to show for 48 residential blocks of land, but the sales have been an economic cash cow for a struggling rural Queensland town.
Jandowae, 260km west of Brisbane, was experiencing a lull four years ago — people were leaving the area, their houses were unoccupied and shops were closing.
But the population has risen a quarter to about 1000 people since the first $1 block was sold in 2001 and many of the buildings have a fresh lick of paint. The last was sold in September.
There was a catch to the dollar deal— buyers had to prove they could have a house built on the vacant land and move in within six months.
Wambo Shire Deputy Mayor Darryl Donald said residents had a spring in their step and outsiders were "starting to notice the town".
Norm Purcival and his wife Annette had been living near Gosford, NSW, two years ago when they heard about the dollar offer.
"We were looking at the values on the internet and saw an ad for the $1 blocks," Mr Purcival said. "We jumped in the car and had a look, we liked what we saw, applied for a $1 block and the rest is history. It is the best value in Australia.
He operates the local mower and mechanical workshop, while Mrs Purcival has a burgeoning massage and natural therapies business. They feel they have "integrated into the local community in a short time".
The couple's nephew later moved to the area from Sydney and now has an apprenticeship in the business.
The Purcivals' two children have also moved to the town.
Of the 48 blocks sold, only two were acquired by locals, with a couple moving from as far away as Adelaide.
Blocks of land in other parts of Jandowae, which could have fetched $30,000 three years ago, are now going for $110,000, and the council has recently acquired a plot from Queensland Rail for residential development.
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