Airlie Beach is a popular coastal resort town in north-eastern Australia, situated in a region of Queensland known as the Whitsundays. Off the coast at this location are the 70+ islands of the Whitsundays group and the central portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Airlie Beach is a popular destination for outdoor sports such as sailing, fishing, and scuba and snorkelling. The climate here is said to be similar to that of Tahiti.


Whilst the house itself is rather unique, the estate in which the home for sale is situated is also quite special in its own right ...

I’d imagine that there wouldn’t have been too many survivalists kicking around in Airlie Beach in the 1980’s, but there was at least one. And his name was Ronald McDonald. And, no, we are not talking about a character emblematic of a certain fast food chain.

Ron and his wife were apparently quite a sight round Airlie Beach, more often than not dressed in clothing more likely to be seen around Sydney’s Double Bay. Anyway Ron had an unusual vision and the funds to pursue it.

Ron bought and subdivided a rain-forested hill just east of town and christened it ‘Parc Exclusif’. The brochure he produced promised parkland, houses and apartments, and a private hospital. His target market was said to be greying deposed African dictators and the like, whose welfare was be ensured by ex-SAS guards.

Anyhow, whilst waiting for customers with zebra swishes to appear, he began by building an enormous sturdy house and extensive infrastructure. This first stage of Don’s dream included a lengthy paved private road built to highway standards, unpaved roads (now exotically overgrown), and enormous lengths of galvanised water piping across the estate, with many water tanks and a pump house connected to the town water supply.

For years after the home was built, both it and the reportedly eccentric habits of an owner who visited the construction site almost daily, formed the stuff of legend for the local construction and building trades community.

But it was inside his house that Ron really indulged himself. Expanses of reinforced concrete? There certainly is ... and more. The house features, for example, solid core timber doors throughout, each fitted with five hinges, at least two substantial slide bolts and a keyed lock. Indeed, the two doors at each end of the central corridor boast six heavy-duty hinges, four slide bolts, a keyed lock, and bore holes that enable the speedy installation of cyclone bars. Downstairs, should you be feeling peckish, you can fossick in your own substantial food storage room which includes two of the largest cold-rooms you would see in a domestic situation. There is also a discrete private bar area and a Jacuzzi for later.

Sadly Ron’s fortunes took a tumble and a receiver moved if before Ron ever could, although by that stage his mansion was at least 95% complete. The sleeping giant of a house then sat empty for a few years, looking down from its prime position above the CBD, and later also the Port of Airlie development.

(Footnote: Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat sadly, the current Covid-19 situation seems to have regenerated interest in survivalist-style real estate)


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