Helen South

Lane Realty MD

Helen & Rakhan

Dreams can come true! While some dream of wealth and possessions, Helen South had one special dream, to meet and cuddle a tiger. That dream was realised at the nearby Dreamworld Theme Park when Helen met Rakhan at their beautiful Tiger Island. Rakhan was totally relaxed about meeting the Queen of Tamborine Mountain real estate! Helen simply couldn’t wipe the smile off her face and gave us the best set of photos ever taken of her. She says simply, “This surely must be the ultimate experience for any cat lover”.


Helen South, along with husband Ian Graham, 8 cats and 2 dogs, made the mass migration from chilly Canberra to Tamborine Mountain 21 years ago. Helen had known Tamborine for many years and when the opportunity came to move north in 1981, Tamborine Mountain was chosen as their new home.

Helen had grown up on a sheep and cattle farm in the Nandewar Ranges of North-Western NSW and departed for University at Canberra at the age of 18. Most of the following 17 years were spent in and around the academic world of ANU. After graduating with majors in English, Geography and Political Science, Helen became a high school teacher but soon traded that for tutoring and lecturing in Political Science at various educational institutions including Royal Military College Duntroon.

While undertaking postgraduate research during the seventies, Helen sought to supplement her income and somehow fell into selling jewellery via party plan. After that proved a viable source of supplementary income, she was recruited into a clothes selling party plan group. During that period, Helen discovered she had a real talent for selling and, when the opportunity came to move to Queensland with Ian’s work, she decided that her future lay in sales rather than academia.

Just 6 weeks after moving to Tamborine Mountain Helen started work with a Gold Coast real estate group. She spent 2 years commuting to the Coast and undertook extensive industry training during that time. This period reinforced her decision to go into real estate and in late 1983 she obtained a position with a small local agency. After working in a relatively professional agency at the Coast, Helen found it quite a shock to be working in a very laid back Mountain style office.

In March 1986 Helen accepted a position with Lane Realty and at the end of that year she bought into a partnership with the then owner, Ron Lane. Two years later she purchased the remaining half of the business . Helen saw no reason “to have her name in lights”, but continued with the well known name and much loved ‘smiley’ logo designed by Ron when he opened the business in 1983.

After assuming full ownership of the company Helen set about turning it into a thoroughly modern agency. Helen was fortunate that Ian is a computer industry professional. First it was just one computer, then 2 or 3 computers. Today, every desk is equipped with a laptop and every member of staff has full Internet access. Specialist real estate computer programmes have been purchased from the USA to maximise the efficiency and productivity of the staff. Helen started surfing the web in 1994 and got her own e-mail address in 1995. She had quickly seen the potential for real estate on the web and set about planning and developing the Lane Realty site during 1996. Ian put countless hours into translating her ideas into html and doing all the related web site site development and promotion. This web site, launched in March 1997, was one of the very first agency sites in Australia. It received immediate acclamation in the USA where it is frequently used by highly paid trainers as an example of effective web site creation.

Helen is the only Australian member of the American Allen F. Hainge Real Estate CyberStars group and also the only Australian agent to hold a formal qualification in Internet proficiency. She was chosen to be one of the first 500 people to undertake the American National Association of Realtors’ inaugural on-line e-PRO accreditation course in 2001. All graduates of that inaugural course are entitled to display the distinctive e-PRO 500 logo.

e-pro 500

Helen is something of a Tamborine Mountain identity and nobody would dare call her conventional. Neither fashion nor popular opinion are matters of great concern to this feisty female. In an age when being slender rules women's lives, Helen long ago gave up the battle of the bulge. Helen loves the vibrant colours of the parrot family and wears them happily. When contact lens became "in" for the myopic, Helen stuck to the glasses which have been on her nose for 45 years. She just yearns for the return of those exotic spectacle frames made fashionable decades ago by Dame Edna Everidge.

Helen has no hesitation in stating that only three things really upset her: cruelty to animals, cruelty to children and cruelty to the aged. She is a life member of the Animal Protection League and strong supporter of the RSPCA and IFAW. Over the years everything from dumped kittens to a sick wild crow have been taken in to the local vet for care at Helen's expense. Putting healthy animals to sleep is simply not a matter for consideration. A home will be found! If need be, she will utilise her considerable talents as a creative writer to touch the hearts of others via the local paper.

The same energy and talents are put to good use in times of human disaster. Helen will "call in past favours” to help people in genuine need. Whether the need be clothes, a trust fund, or professional advice - telephone in hand, she manages to organise it all. As one family wrote after they lost their home and possessions to fire, "Yes, we had known you for years, but we had no idea you were the best friend we had!"

The massive growth in real estate activity - an increase of more than 200% in turnover since the launch of this web site in 1997 - has forced Helen to devote more time to management and marketing in recent years. Every so often, just to remind the staff that she still hasn’t totally lost her selling touch, she ducks off and makes a sale and inevitably ends up with new friends from the foray.

Even "The Boss" has a nickname, in fact 2; both derived from the fowl pen! She is usually referred to as "Hen or "Mother Hen".

Phone: 61 7 5545 1800
Fax: 61 7 55452747
Lane Realty
For Service With a Smile
Shop 10, Tamborine Plaza, Beacon Road,
North Tamborine, Queensland, Australia 4272
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Last updated 3 January, 2009