Packhorse director Tom Strachan dies in plane crash

Tom Strachan was an executive director at Packhorse Pastoral Company and an investor in agricultural properties, after founding and selling labor hire company AWX.

Packhorse Pastoral Company executive director Tom Strachan has died along with his son Noah in a light plane crash in Queensland.

The Cessna light aircraft took off from Dalby Airport at 10am on August 29 and was due to land at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane at around 2pm. It was reported missing after failing to arrive as scheduled.

Authorities launched a search and found that the aircraft had crashed in bushland near the suburb of Fernvale.

Emergency services reached the aircraft but Strachan, his 20-year-old son Noah Strachan, and pilot Gary Liehm were pronounced dead at the scene. There was no-one else on board the plane.

Queensland Police’s Forensic Crash Unit will investigate the circumstances of the crash with assistance from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

In a statement, Packhorse 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.”

Tom Strachan was an executive director at Packhorse, which launched in mid-2021 with ambitions to raise as much as A$1.5 billion ($1.04 billion; €1.04 billion) of capital to invest in livestock pastoral assets and farm them using regenerative techniques.

He previously founded labor hire company AWX Group in 2000, supplying workers to the mining, agribusiness and construction sectors. He sold the business in 2016 to a group of high-net-worth investors.

Strachan purchased the Lighthouse cattle property near Wallumbilla in Queensland in 2015 through his own Australian Pastoral Land Company. Lighthouse is currently being managed by Packhorse but is not part of the Packhorse Pastoral Company fund portfolio.