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REVEALED: The truth behind Old Woman Island





STUNNING photographs taken by a drone have shown what is on one of the Sunshine Coast’s most mysterious and iconic landmarks, Old Woman Island.

Property Today real estate agent John Anderson took the photographs with his drone as he always gets asked questions about the island located less than a kilometre off Mudjimba.

It shows the dilapidated ruins of an old building, which begs the question “who lived there”.

One of the last people to own the lease on the island’s wife has revealed a little of its history.

Libby Troy’s late husband, Peter, the Australian surfing legend, used to stay in a “hut” on the island and commute to Marcoola with a tinnie when he owned the lease in the 1980s and 1990s.



Mrs Troy has also dispelled one of the most common urban myths about the island, that Sean Connery owned it or stayed on it for his honeymoon with Diane Cilento.

The couple owned a unit at Parkyn Parade in Mooloolaba.

But James Bond never made it to the island.

“He never once set foot on the island,” Mrs Troy said.



“The truth is, a female surfer on the Coast, Kim McKenzie, who had the lease on the shark nets was asked by Connery and his wife, Diane Cilento, to take them out to the island.”

“But the sea was too rough, they never came ashore.”

Peter took the lease on the island as it gave him the perfect opportunity to get the best surf breaks.

“Basically, he wanted it for surfing,” Mrs Troy said.

“He could walk out in the morning and have a surf on the right or have a surf on the left.”

The island had a “hut” on it, which Mrs Troy said had been built by a retired airline pilot, John Sewell who once also owned the lease.



“He and his wife built a hut out there, from concrete and salt water,” she said.

Apparently it even had a swimming pool on it and vegie patch.

The island wasn’t a cheap holiday home for Mr Troy.

“We paid more leases and fees for Old Woman Island than the person who leased Hamilton Island had to,” she said.

The couple also had to pay council rates and taxes, including fees for garbage collection.

It was just ludicrous, we paid the same rates as those on the Mudjimba shore line.”

Peter used to get annoyed when he would return to his island home and find surfers got into the house.

Mr Anderson’s photos show the scattered remains of the original dwelling.


Mrs Troy said “you can thank the environment and heritage people for that”.

A decision was made around 2006 to remove the roof on the hut because it had asbestos.

“A chopper came in and took the roof off, which destroyed the house,” she said.

By this time, Mr Troy no longer owned the lease.

He sold it in 1991, but within a year the State Government took the leases back.

“It is an environmental park now,” she said.

“There are a lot of islands that no longer have leases and they don’t do anything to maintain the islands.

“About 12 years after Peter gave over the lease, rangers rang Pete to ask how to get on the island.

“They’d had it for over 10 years and the couldn’t work that out.”

Peter never returned to the island after the no longer had the lease.

“He wasn’t interested in going to it. It was a chapter in his life that was over.”

Sunshine Coast Daily journalist, Bill Hoffman, has had a long association with the island and was involved in securing its inclusion as part of the Maroochy River Conservation Park.

He said it was the subject “of at least two Aboriginal legends”.

One involved two women making a home on the island, where there were midyim berry bushes. When only one of the women could be seen on the island, it became known as Old Woman Island.

The same legend concerned the midyim berry bush – hence ‘midyam’ becoming altered to ‘Mudjimba’.

A second legend interpreted the island as being the head knocked off the top of a warrior, Coolum, which is represented as the flat-topped Mount Coolum about 6km northwards.


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The making of Maroochydore: Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar



The making of Maroochydore Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar

It may have been among the first list of locations in the song I’ve Been Everywhere, but Maroochydore has long played second fiddle to the rest of the Sunshine Coast.

Perhaps, in years gone by, that was because it didn’t have the same sex appeal as Mooloolaba a few short kilometres south, or most southerners simply drove straight to Noosa on their holidays after landing at the coast’s airport a few kilometres to the suburb’s north.

Until relatively recently, I, for one, had never frequented its bevy of beaches but now am a die-hard fan because of fewer people on the sand and definitely fewer out in the waves.

While it has long been recognised as the commercial hub of the coast, Maroochydore wasn’t known for much else apart from being home to Sunshine Plaza and a surf club.

Its property market didn’t even usually make the cut when journos chose to write a story, because it was often outshone by the coast’s million-dollar suburbs such as the aptly named Noosa beach suburbs of Sunrise and Sunshine up the road.

The making of Maroochydore Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar 1

In fact, while it borders the expensive enclave of Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore’s median house price is just $635,000, according to the latest Domain data.

However, its time off the front pages brings with it plenty of market opportunity in the years ahead courtesy of an embarrassment of major local and regional projects.     

The biggest one of them all, which again seems somewhat off the radar, is the creation of one of the largest regeneration projects in southeast Queensland.

Construction is about to start on the first buildings in Maroochydore’s brand-new CBD, which is on the site of a former golf course not far from the ocean.

“Once complete, the new city centre will be one of the most connected CBDs in Australia in terms of communications and public transport, which will benefit the entire suburb, not just the city centre,” SunCentral Maroochydore chief executive John Knaggs says.

The making of Maroochydore Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar 2

“Sunshine Coast businesses will all be able to take advantage of the high-speed global connectivity delivered through the new international sub-sea cable and light rail to the heart of the site, which will make it easier for people to get around Maroochydore and access main train routes.”

The long-term project, set on about 50 hectares, is now in its second stage, with it expected to create 15,000 permanent jobs on the Sunshine Coast as well as inject billions into the local, regional, and state economies.

The project, which launched four years ago, seems particularly prescient given the region is now welcoming the second highest number of interstate migrants in the country.

Indeed, the Sunshine Coast population is expected to reach half a million by 2036.

“Maroochydore is becoming a stronger hub and centre of attraction, with businesses, particularly those at the forefront of technology, keen to get a foothold in the area,” Mr Knaggs said.

The making of Maroochydore Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar 3

“A growing business community will lead to increased employment, which leads to more demand for property. Demand inevitably leads to future property price growth.”

Plans are also under way for a light rail to link Maroochydore to Caloundra, subject to funding, while Sunshine Plaza recently underwent a $440 million redevelopment.

Plus signs of gentrification are already visible, with the Duporth Avenue and Ocean Street precinct now home to a plethora of groovy cafes, bars, and new units with water views.

Local sales agent Amber Werchon said downsizers were particularly prevalent in the market at present.

“The coast itself has seen an increase in unit sales,” she said.

“We’re finding many downsizer buyers for apartments or townhouses who want to be close to the action but affordable.

The making of Maroochydore Why this part of the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar 4

“Maroochydore and the Sunshine Coast are both active markets, which we can expect to potentially see more of moving forward, with the approval of new business and housing developments in the new CBD.”

Another game-changing project is the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion, with a second runway and associated facilities due to be completed in 2020.

The project has the potential to deposit two million more local and overseas passengers every year on Maroochydore’s doorstep by 2040 – that will be triple the airport’s current annual passengers.

Justin Nickerson, of Apollo Auctions, says the suburb “ticks a lot of boxes” for property buyers with major amenities as well as a desirable beachside location.

“Maroochydore has been the poor cousin – you only went on holiday there if you left it too late to get into Mooloolaba or Alex – but now from a pure infrastructure point of view, it has more than both of those suburbs combined,” he says.

“When you look for places to live and places to invest, particularly if you have a young family, you look for infrastructure and Maroochydore definitely has that in spades.”


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The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices



The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices

The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale price by the largest percentages have been revealed.

New data analysis by Domain looked at the average rate of vendor discounting on properties in suburbs throughout Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast over the six months to March this year and found some areas were discounting by as much as 12 per cent.

Houses at Carindale, Clontarf, Redcliffe and Rochedale South topped out the list of Greater Brisbane suburbs with the highest percentage of vendors discounting their asking price, while Chermside, New Farm, Redcliffe and South Brisbane had the highest rate of discounting for units.

On the Gold Coast, houses at Broadbeach Waters and Hope Island both recorded double-digit average vendor discounting, while units at Main Beach and Southport had the highest rate of discounting.

The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices 2

Maroochydore and Tewantin headed up the Sunshine Coast houses that were being the discounted by the highest percentage.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the rate of discounting was another market indicator that could help assess conditions in certain suburbs.

The data was compiled using a minimum of 30 observations and did not include properties that sold via auction or without a listed price.

“This can be a bit more timely than price data,” he said. “But it is only an average figure and, while the average or median is the simplest way to look at a suburb, it doesn’t tell the full story.”

Will Torres of Torres Property said overall the housing market in Carindale was performing well but that the average discounting rate was likely brought down by a specific price point.

The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices 1

Carindale’s median house price is $879,750, a rise of 1.1 per cent over the year to March.

“I’d say the market that is being affected at the moment is that mid-$1 million price range,” he said.

“Rewind to six months ago I was selling houses in this price range in three weeks — now I’m struggling to get numbers in the door. That’s where the discounting will be, around that $1.5 million range and that’s why the Carindale percentage is that high.

“Anything under that price point is still performing really well and selling well. Days on market have stretched but the buyers and the demand is overall still there.”

Broadbeach Waters recorded the highest rate of vendor discounting, by up to 12 per cent. Jordan Williams of JW Prestige said that figure had likely been increased by houses in the $2 million to $3 million range, which were sometimes overpriced.

“If you’re 10 per cent over the odds you won’t get a result, you won’t get a deal — that’s why you’re seeing that average discount for Broadbeach Waters,” he said.

The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices 3

“So this figure doesn’t mean the market has dropped here, it means some properties were overpriced. I sold a house for $4.5 million where the owners originally were asking $4.7 million. That’s a massive discount.

“But it started out that high because the owners said they wanted to give it a go, test the waters. There’s a million different scenarios for why people discount their properties.”

At Hope Island, where the average vendor discount is 10.3 per cent, agent Warren Hickey is selling a four-bedroom, two-bathroom contemporary home on Virginia Avenue, which is listed for offers over $995,000 and advertised as a huge price reduction.

However, he said the listing was not representative of the local market.

“On average we’d sell a property a week in Hope Island. I would say if you look back at everything we’ve sold in the past few years, we’ve probably only advertised one as having a price reduction and this is it. It’s the exception,” he said.

On the Sunshine Coast, where Maroochydore recorded an average discount on houses of 7.5 per cent, local Century 21 agent Damien Said said a lot of the properties in higher demand were now auctioned.

The southeast Queensland suburbs where vendors are discounting their sale prices 4

“That needs to be noted — those properties are automatically excluded from the data,” he said.

“If anyone in Maroochydore is discounting, I’d say it’s more of a reflection of a few properties that came on the market with unrealistic expectations.

“Generally, we’re finding that when properties do come on the market, as long as the price is realistic, our days on market are reducing. The coast market is still quite active.”


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The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn – and it’s good news for homeowners living in Queensland



The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn - and it's good news for homeowners living in Queensland

Coastal and regional hotspots are bucking the housing market downturn with property prices at record highs. 

As the market in Sydney and Melbourne continues to weaken, it’s a different story in regions such as Hobart, Canberra and Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine coasts.

The regions dominate in the 11 suburbs across Australia identified as the most resilient areas, according to CoreLogic data.

New figures released this month revealed national housing values have plummeted 7.2 per cent, the largest annual fall since the 12 months ending February 2009 during the global financial crisis.

But Core Logic head of research Tim Lawless says homeowners in weak markets are unlocking significant equity, helping to boost prices in coastal areas.

‘Baby boomers are retiring, having gone through a number of property cycles and have the equity to fund a lifestyle purchase,’ he told The Australian.

‘The money goes further in these markets than in Sydney and Melbourne.’

So, where are Australia’s most resilient areas? 

The Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The latest figures are good news for those looking to sell on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The median housing price in Sunshine Beach have soared 5.3 per cent in the last 12 months to almost $1.16million and up 26.6 per cent in the last five years.

The suburb was followed closely by Noosa Heads ($1.11 million) with a 2.9 per cent rise, where prices have jumped 29.5 per cent in five years.

In nearby Diddillibah-Rosemount, prices have jumped 16 per cent in the last five years to $747,812, 1.8 per cent rise in the last 12 months.

Renowned as a popular tourist mecca and for its laidback lifestyle, the Sunshine Coast is a growing region which attracts more than 3.2 million visitors a year and is Queensland’s third most populated area.

Further south of the Sunshine Coast, the median price in the Brisbane suburb of Windsor rose by 6.04 per cent to $902,000 while on the Gold Coast, the coastal suburb of Palm Beach now stands at $872,400, up 2.8 per cent and 42.8 per cent over five years.

The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn - and it's good news for homeowners living in Queensland 1


Many parts of the nation’s capital are also bucking the downturn trend, according to CoreLogic.

Experts have hailed Canberra the strongest real estate economy out of all of the capital cities.

The median price in Garran has skyrocketed by 10.7 per cent to just over $1million in the last 12 months and 41.9 per cent over five years.

There were even higher rises in Lyons (14.1 per cent to $769,518) and Cook (17.4 per cent to $749,743).

A town not far from Canberra that also made the list was Yass in the NSW southern tablelands, where the median property price jumped by 4.8 per cent to $760,000, where prices have soared by a third within five years.

The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn - and it's good news for homeowners living in Queensland 2

Hobart, Tasmania and West Beach, South Australia

2018 was a record year for real estate sales in the Apple Aisle, known for its relaxed lifestyle, affordability and cooler climate.

There were 11,400 property transactions worth a record $4 billion last year, according to Real Estate Institute of Tasmania data.

In Hobart, the average property price has risen 6.5 per cent to $809,300, a 39.3 per cent within five years.

Also in Australia’s southern states bucking the trend is Adelaide seaside suburb of West Beach, where the average price is now over $800,000 after a 4.4 per cent rise and 27.3 per cent change over five years. 

The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn - and it's good news for homeowners living in Queensland 3

At the other end of the scale, 17 of the 20 biggest price drops for the year were in Sydney’s mid-priced suburbs such as Epping, where prices have plummeted by almost a third in the last 12 months, The Australian reported.

Mr Lawless said there are signs that the worst of the housing market conditions are now over.

‘Values are still broadly declining, however the pace of decline has moderated since December last year and there are some tentative signs that credit flows have improved, albeit from a low base,’ he said earlier this month.

‘The prospect for lower interest rates is another factor that could support an improvement in housing market activity later this year.’

The booming property hotspots which have defied the housing downturn - and it's good news for homeowners living in Queensland 4


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