Cult leader cashes in
Courier Mail (Australia),
May 10, 2007
By Amanda Gearing
HELIDON cult leader Debra Geileskey is selling up her million-dollar Lockyer Valley rural retreat and has moved to the US.
The self-proclaimed visionary who told followers she was receiving messages from the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, attracted up to 400 followers after she moved to Toowoomba in 1992 from Melbourne.
Soon after, Geileskey's husband Gordon denounced his wife as a fake and left the group.
Many families gave generous donations to her Magnificat Meal Movement and several signed over part-ownership of their houses to her, including a former convent at Helidon that became the cult headquarters.
Geileskey encouraged her followers to live in Helidon, claiming Jesus Christ would return to the town once they built a $45 million basilica. It has never been built.
Geileskey reverted to her maiden name of Burslem and bought up to 20 rural properties in the Lockyer Valley, including the 150ha Sandy Creek Rd property at Grantham that will be auctioned on May 31 in Toowoomba.
Elders real estate agent Denis McGrath said the farm, which last changed hands for $950,000 in 2002, was attracting a high level of interest from prospective buyers.
Interest in the property from Queensland and NSW had been strong since it was listed for sale last week and Mr McGrath said he had shown it to four potential buyers yesterday.
He said it was difficult to value the Sandy Creek Rd property because of its features, which included three houses, a church, olive and apricot orchards and irrigation equipment.
Mr McGrath said Burslem spoke to him by phone from the US giving him selling instructions, told him she would not be attending the auction and asked him to sign the contract on her behalf.
A title search by The Courier-Mail yesterday shows Geileskey, under her maiden name Debra Marie Burslem, is the sole owner of the property.
Ms Burslem is also listed with the titles office as the sole owner of a 16ha farm at Grantham and 14,000sq m of land in Dip Rd, Helidon.
Burslem's company, Our Lady's Mount, owns 4000sq m of land in Railway St, Helidon, and is part owner of five blocks of land also in Railway St, Helidon.
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