Before I post Chapter 14 in my on-going saga - "Music to My Ears...Purrrfect...Or...To All the Cats I've Loved Before...And Still...." I need to preface it with this post....
During our lifetime we experience memorable moments that surpass others; exceptional episodes; distinctly unique; occurrences that stand tall far beyond the mundane and banal. Some may even be minute in the overall structure of things, but cherished events they remain; chapters forever embedded in our psyche; imprinted in our memories; treasured evermore in our heart. Idylls which exceed the ordinary, as do some who starred in the exceptional vignettes.
Even if we didn’t recognise or appreciate their value when we were caught up in the moment/s, in retrospect they’re remarkably unparalleled.
Fortunately, I recognised at the time that my stint on Hinchinbrook Island was extraordinary.
Friday 15th August my heart shattered upon hearing the news fire had destroyed what remained of the island’s resort.
Police set up a crime scene to investigate. To me it appears it probably was a “Jewish stock-take”! From what I've read over the past few days the resort was in the process of being transferred to a new buyer.
The fire burned for a number of days, destroying precious bushland as well as the buildings.
Regrettably, in February 2011, the buildings and their contents had already been victims of Cyclone Yasi’s indiscriminate fury. Deplorable, unfathomable vandals with time on their hands and no brains in their heads had also left their mark by destroying fixtures and fittings in the main building that housed the resort’s restaurant.
Man has little power over Nature, but the nature of man too often leaves much to be desired.
Through the almost 30 years since my island days a number of my staff and I have remained friends. Included in the circle are a couple of ex-guests from those halcyon days and nights. The friendships are as precious as gold. We care about each other. We’re in regular contact via social media, phone and in person. Other than our ages, little has changed over the ages. They were special to me during our shared time on our tropical island in the sun; they still are. The bond is unbreakable.
Living and working in a world of our own, we created our fun. My staff was an inventive, ingenious crew; much merriment (and mischief) was had!
The “work” never really felt like work; it was more a pleasure than a chore.
Shortly after setting foot on the island the holidaymakers willingly succumbed to the island mood. Enthusiastic recipients and participants, our guests enjoyed the fruits of our buoyant, happy attitude. The “real” world seemed a million miles away – for them and for us.
As soon as news of the fire hit the air-waves my friends and I contacted each other. It was a race to our phones and computers. They, like me, were devastated over the latest turn of events.
I’m saddened greatly, not only because of the fire, but from everything else that has occurred at the resort over the past number of years.
In 2010 the island resort was in the hands of developer Keith Williams’ son, Ben.
In the late 1990s, Williams Snr., who passed away October 2011, developed Port Hinchinbrook on the mainland, south of Cardwell. In the wake of the GFC, Williams Corporation went broke.
Ben Williams closed down the island resort at Cape Richards in 2010. It was left defenseless against Nature and the destructive nature of humans.
A friend said to me as we discussed the latest jinx that befell the resort; “It costs less to remove ash than tonnes of timber. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. It’ll be nice to see new buildings that blend in with the environment. Perhaps Cape Richards can be open for business again allowing people to enjoy the island once more.”
Ashes to ashes; rainforest to rainforest resort…
Perhaps Cape Richards should be allowed to revert to its natural state…let the forest reign…and humans leave it alone….
As members of a fortunate few we’ll always be grateful for our island sojourn.
In 1986 and 1987 we experienced the resort at its best. It wasn’t flash like the new Whitsunday island resorts, or as fancy as Dunk, Bedarra or Orpheus Islands, but Cape Richards Resort had heart; and it had soul.
No man, vandals, cyclones, fires or whatever else, come what may, will destroy the precious memories my friends and I share; memories and friendships cherished to this day.
There’s a lengthy, page-turning trilogy waiting to be written about our Cape Richards adventures, with more than fifty shades of everything!
(I may have already started writing it....)!!!
Every thing I write about my time on the Hinchinbrook Island is a tribute to "Her". "She" is one hell of an island...majestic, awesome, magnificent. diverse and stunningly beautiful....