hard to imagine, as I bash away on the keyboard trying to meet
the editorial deadline for the magazine you’re holding in
your hands, that just over a week ago, I was beetling along in
a golf buggy at a blistering 20 kilometres per hour trying not
to miss the media boat that was about to depart for the race course
off Hamilton Island.
Yes, it was Hamilton Island Race Week, and I had
donned my journalist’s
cap once again to endeavour and capture the colour and excitement
of this fabulous yachting regatta.
Tropical Hamilton Island in August is so far removed
from wintry Melbourne. You feel like you could be on another planet!
Island residents will sometimes refer to the island, tongue-in-cheek,
as Fantasy Island. And it’s easy to see why.
On the surface, nothing seems to be an issue. Even
when ownership concerns hit the island hard in 2003, along came
Bob Oatley, and now in less than a year the island has a development
plan moving forward that would make most mainland regions jealous.
Bob has retained the existing executive team, headed
by CEO Wayne Kirkpatrick, and has tasked them with the responsibility
of turning his dreams for the island into reality. And what grand
dreams they are. It would appear that there isn’t a single aspect of
the island that isn’t in line for an improvement of some
Some $12million has already been spent on island
infrastructure and planning. Work has also commenced on the construction
of a road, Passage Peak Way, to the bay on the northern shore beneath
Passage Peak, along which approximately 10 villas will be designed
and constructed for sale. At the end of which a new luxury, small,
private boutique hotel will be created to rival the very best
properties in the Asia Pacific region.
Additional projects currently being designed for
Hamilton Island include a boutique hotel at Hideaway Bay, a villa
development at the Northern Marina site, and completion of the
marina, including the Marina All Suites Hotel with more cafés, restaurants,
bars, retail outlets and another 100 marina berths. This is in
addition to the Fauna Park project and Northpoint. There is also
an 18-hole international championship golf course and a residential
project well down the road to being approved on neighbouring Dent
Island, which was part of the original purchase.
And in case you didn’t already know, Bob Oatley is a committed
boatie, more specifically, a committed yachtie! In 2003, he along
with good mate Colin O’Neil, took on and beat the world’s
best to bring back to Australia the highly prestigious and most
sought after Admiral’s Cup.
So the island’s boating-centric commitment is set to remain,
and the future of Race Week is assured.
Also in this magazine is a wrap-up of the record-breaking
2004 Sydney International Boat Show, co-sponsored by Club Marine;
a pictorial essay on the historic and idyllic Lake Como region
in Italy by celebrated photographer Bill Bachmann, a technical
piece on identifying and handling corrosion on boats, a retrospective
of the Port of Sale region by Mike Quist, and a dramatic coastline
pictorial by Andrew Brown. This is in addition to Steve Timmons’ lighted-hearted
account of catching mud crabs in the Top End, reminiscent of Henry
Lawson’s ‘campfire yarns’.
Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety
is our top priority!