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A quirky property story

The following text was prepared back in February 2021, but was never distributed as a media release as I had initially planned. As I've recently noted a number of 'quirky properties sold in 2023' stories, I thought I might drag it out and give it a run now.


Iconic survivalist residence emerges from rainforest mist


The horror, the horror” says Colonel Kurtz to Captain Willard in the epic psychological war film

‘Apocalypse Now’. Odd perhaps, but the story that I’m about to introduce reminds me a little of Kurtz. I

learnt of this tale from time spent living in the former home of the main character. Whilst it’s not a

derelict temple peopled with Montagnard tribesmen, it too is surrounded by jungle. And more than a

little intrigue.


In the last few months we’ve witnessed a slew of articles on the growing regionalisation of the

property market. In earlier times similar trends attracted labels such as sea-changers/tree-changers,

preppers or survivalists. Those of us who are old enough, also grew up seeing pictures of

enclaves in the USA built from abandoned missile silos and the like. Most assumed this concept

never found a place in the Australian real estate market. But that’s not entirely true.


One such exception was the ‘Parc Exclusif’ estate in Mandalay Road, Airlie Beach created by New

Zealander, Donald McDonald. Don's unusual vision has returned to the limelight as the home he

created as its centrepiece has now been listed for sale.


In the mid-1980's, journalist Guy Ker had this to say about the place: 


"The mountaintop mansion boasting the tightest private security system in the Sunshine State is the

dream-home of eccentric Kiwi millionaire Don McDonald. Obsessed with self-preservation, the now

ailing white-goods king spent a fortune turning his slice of paradise into an impregnable corral. The

$20 million residence is guarded around the clock by trained mercenaries and even features an

atomic shelter equipped to survive nuclear attack". 


Marketing brochures listed a private hospital and nursing clinic as well as apartments and home sites.

It was noted that “Special attention has been paid to the security aspect of the clinic. The Airlie Beach

district is away from the crime-ridden cities, but as a precaution Parc Exclusif is continually patrolled

by security guards. A full personal security service is available for patients who require this special

service. Personal staff of the patients are also catered for”.


Whilst most of the buildings Don planned to construct never eventuated, millions were spent on

infrastructure. That which remains includes iron piping, water tanks and private roads, most now well

and truly swallowed by encroaching vines and forest.






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