TRAGEDY has engulfed the Queensland cattle industry following the deaths of prominent agribusiness identity Thomas Strachan, 48, his son Noah, 20, and experienced senior pilot Garry Liehm, 63. in a light plane crash near Ipswich on Monday.
Mr Strachan was the founder of Australia’s largest privately owned labour hire company AWX.
In 2015 his Australian Pastoral Land Company acquired premier district Roma property Lighthouse, which neighboured his existing property, Lorraine.
He was also a major investor in, and executive director of, large-scale regenerative agriculture-focused investment fund Packhorse Pastoral Company, which owns Stuart’s Creek at Roma, Qld, Ottley Station at Inverell, NSW, and the Moolan Downs aggregation near Meandarrra, Qld.
The Courier Mail reported that the three were aboard a Cessna light aircraft which took off from Roma at 7:20am yesterday before landing at Dalby shortly before 9am.
It then took off again at 9:15am before being impacted by bad weather, causing it to rapidly drop from 2000ft to 500ft, crashing near Fernvale at 10am.
Police were notified when the plane was reported as “overdue” at around 2:30pm.
Mr Strachan, who graduated from Brisbane Grammar School in 1990, where his son Noah also attended, graduating in 2019, last year donated $500,0000 to the school’s bursary fund to ensure more boys from the bush have the opportunity of an education at the school. “I think BGS needs the kid from Cunnamulla and the kid from Ipswich; the kid from Woodridge or Cairns, who provide a different flavour to the School,” he said at the time.
Noah Strachan studied at Queensland University of Technology and was an analyst at Benstead Holdaway, a Brisbane real estate and investment company.
Brisbane Grammar School released a statement this morning saying it was “deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Old Boys Tom Strachan and his son Noah”.
“Tom graduated from BGS in 1990 and Noah graduated from BGS in 2019,” Acting Headmaster David Carroll said.
“Our thoughts are with the Strachan family. We will support them in any way possible.”
A statement from Packhorse Pastoral Company said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Tom Strachan and his son Noah, along with their pilot Garry Liehm.
“Tom was an inspiring entrepreneur. He was a generous and charismatic man with a passion for regenerative agriculture. Today our focus is on supporting his family and friends.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has confirmed it has started an investigation into the crash, which occurred in rugged bushland near Lake Wivenhoe a spokesman said.
“The ATSB expects to deploy a team of transport safety investigators from its Brisbane office, with expertise in engineering, aircraft operations and maintenance, to the accident site on Tuesday.”