Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

What Life Was like on Old Woman Island

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

What Life Was like on Old Woman Island

Article excerpt



THE stone house that John Sewell built on Old Woman Island has long laid in ruins but new stories of idyllic life on the island in the 1980s have come to light.

When Peter Troy took up the lease on the island off Mudjimba in the 1980s some time had passed since John Sewell left and there was plenty of work to be done.

He and his then-partner, Wendy Adcock, found the cottage weather-beaten and vandalised.

"Firstly we had to re- secure the house and remove rubbish and debris from inside and sweep the accumulated sand out," Ms Adcock said.

"To our amazement as we cleared the sand and leaves from around the house we discovered patios circling the house and an entire network of rock-lined shell paths leading to the south- ern side of the island, while another, longer network of paths meandered among the pandanus palms towards the Mudjumba Beach end of the island."

They were never able to restore the plumbing Mr Sewell had installed to the kitchen and bathroom, instead they would heat water for "bucket baths".

The pair, sometimes with friends, would visit the island for three or four days at a time around Mr Troy's weekend work as a night manager at Surf Air and Ms Adcock's job in a Mexican restaurant at Noosa.

"We always tried to go to the island when the tide was right so we could get into the harbour and when there was little or no swell," Ms Adcock said.

"This meant that much of the time there was no surf, therefore very few people would come out by boat or paddle out to surf.

"We would have the island all to ourselves.

"We'd stay there until the food was running out and then we'd go back. We had some rough trips when the nor-easters were blowing."

They watched "amazing sunsets" from the island and cooked on an open fireplace every night.

"I would toss in potatoes wrapped in foil and jaffles were a favourite of ours," she said.

"We drank boxed red wine, listened to the battery powered radio, and played backgammon. …

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