Monday, May 28, 2007

Leave Hinchinbrook Island Alone, Keith Williams!

I've written this post in FauxNew

However, I thought it worth of repeating in here. You all know how I feel about the resort on Hinchinbrook Island, of how close it is to my heart.

It was only a couple of nights ago, I discovered developer Keith Williams has purchased the resort at Cape Richards on Hinchinbrook Island.

I’m not some tree-hugging “greenie” but Hinchinbrook Island has a special place in my heart. Back in the mid-eighties I lived on the island and managed the small resort at Cape Richards. I would hate to see the resort area changed. Presently, the resort covers an area of only 22 acres. Please let’s leave it that way. Hinchinbrook Island is a national park. The island is 245 square miles in area. When I was at the resort the maximum number of people we could accommodate at one time was 45, although we advertised “maximum population 30″…thirty was a more comfortable number to cater for. A couple of years after I left, the number of cabins were increased to cater for a maximum 60 guests at any given time. Sixty guests is more than enough for this resort.

I know Margaret Thorsborne, personally. She is a wonderful elderly lady who loves Hinchinbrook Island and its surrounds dearly. She is the President of the Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook. I first met Margaret and her now late husband Arthur when I moved to the island. Throughout the years since then our paths have crossed quite a few times. I have also met Keith Williams a couple of times, when he used to stay in a motel I managed in Cardwell, a town on the mainland across from Hinchinbrook Island. Keith Williams is a very smart man, similar in age to Margaret Thorsborne, however Williams is more on the side of the fence of a developer than on the side of the fence to preserve Hinchinbrook Island resort.

Back when I was living on Hinchinbrook Island he was busy turning Hamilton Island into a clone of the Gold Coast, abounding with high-rise condominiums, canals, concrete and bitumen.

Let’s hope this is not allowed to happen at Cape Richards or anywhere else on Hinchinbrook Island. Leave the resort at Cape Richards remain as it is….low-key, natural and relaxed. We have enough high-powered resorts and hotels on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and other island resorts.

There is only one Hinchinbrook Island Resort. The resort is unique amongst island resorts/retreats...please let's not change its uniqueness!

Margaret Thorsborne (Community Conservation)

Margaret, along with her late husband Arthur, has spent most of her life promoting and supporting environmental values. A founding member of the Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4) in Mission Beach and of the Tully branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Margaret is well known for her selfless efforts in working to preserve the unique and outstanding World Heritage values of Hinchinbrook Island and the Hinchinbrook Channel. The Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island was named in honour of Margaret and her husband.


  1. God, the man's at it again! You'd think after all this time, Keith Williams would just fade away. How old is the old his 80s, isn't he?

    But he's still after the dollar, too bad about conservation and the fact that a lot of people don't want a "tinsel" resort, there are plenty of those elsewhere. But lots of people want to stay somewhere unspoiled...there should be some sort of order on that man that prevents him from going anywhere near a conservation area and trying to get his grubby paws on it.

  2. lee,
    Thank goodness there are folks like Margaret who work tirelessly to keep some sembleance of the status quo, as far as our natural environment goes!
    I do think teir work is important in ralling popular support.

  3. Hi Lee
    Now I for one wouldn’t hold it against you if it became known you were an occasional avid tree-hugger, and self confessed life changed greenie.

    How you feel about Hinchinbrook Island I also feel applies equally to many of our developments, particularly those during the seventies and eighties, unsustainable in the future.

    For luxury is more about our natural beauty and landscape not concrete skyscrapers to encroach a fragile shoreline, destined to become the dinosaurs of development folly.

    Best wishes

  4. Oh, this story pulls at my heart strings. Knowing what my grandparents town was like back in the old days and seeing what it is like now. Sometimes I wish some places could stay the same for ever.

  5. The very sad part is that money nearly always wins... i hope this is not the case this time..there are just some places that really need to be left alone to enjoy.

  6. Robyn, Rel, Lindsay, Deslily and Sandra...thanks everyone for your comments and empathy.

    Some places should remain untouched and Hinchinbrook Island is definitely one of those places.

    Robyn...yes, Keith Williams would be in his early 80's now, as is Margaret...they will fight to their deaths over this magnificent part of Australia. Margaret may be small of stature, but she's a fighter in what she believes in at heart.

  7. It looks like a lovely, unspoiled place. I hope they don't ruin it.

  8. The photos are lovely Lee. I hope that it is kept as a relatively unspoiled place.

  9. Hi Serena and jmb...I do too...very much so.

  10. I have a bad feeling about this Lee. Why we he buy it unless he was going to develop it? Call me suspicious.

  11. I'm suspicious too, Corn Dog. I don't mind if he restores what is there and retains the naturalness of the resort...that would be fine...and also if the resort area of 22 acres only is to remain and no other areas on the island developed.

  12. It is so sad when nature gets messed with in such an EXTREME I love a good resort, but my heart comes alive when I can wander in natural I choose the natural........

  13. I know what you mean, Rebecca. I love the four or five-star as much as anyone else, but I also love the uniqueness that Hinchinbrook has to offer.

  14. Lovely photos again and I hope it remains as portrayed in them , Lee. I feel for you.

  15. Anonymous6:07 PM

    From Margaret Moorhouse

    THANK YOU LEE for defending World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Island.

    As you know, Margaret Thorsborne has no email connection where she lives in her cottage in the forest.

    I have just got off the phone after reading out to her your blogg and all the comments.

    Margaret was very touched; she is delighted that Hinchinbrook Island and all it stands for is so treasured by unseen friends so far away.

    The Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook (ASH) has been lobbying the Queensland Government for some time over issues arising from the change in ownership of the resort on the Island (not to be confused with the so-called Port Hinchinbrook "resort" - actually a canal estate - on the mainland opposite!).

    We have so far been assured that no extension in area would be permitted. Because these decisions are political, we never really view them as set in concrete.

    ASH continues to pursue other HI resort-related issues to prevent (to the best of our ability) adverse impacts on the ecological and wilderness values of the Island.

    I think a big reason for Williams wanting control of the Island resort is because this provides a virtual monopoly on access to the Island via his Port Hinchinbrook marina on the mainland, and this would be a big selling point for his goal of disposing of the whole mainland development, which he has tried to do ever since at least 1995.

    Repeatedly, publicised "sales" to some big developers (like Craig Gore and Meridien) have fallen through. Prospective puchasers want the assets but no-one wants the liabilities (like many hectares of acid sulphate spoil ponds). Apparently no-one in his family wants it either.

    Now that Williams has come to the end of his business life the predators are circling to see what they can get, now that he has said he will sell it in parts.

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