Abandoned Hinchinbrook lodge destroyed

A fire has destroyed the decaying Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge. The former luxury hotel off Cardwell in north Queensland was closed during the global financial crisis before being damaged by Cyclone Yasi.

At least 12 buildings – including the main resort and a number of bungalows were gutted when the blaze broke out on Friday morning.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire which is continuing to burn. Firefighters have been battling the blaze since it broke out at the decaying lodge destroying the reception, restaurant and three accommodation cabins. Since then, authorities said 17 more structures had been claimed by the fire over the weekend.

The North and South Macushla camping and day use areas have been closed until further notice, as has the walking track between Macushla, Cape Richards and South Shepherd Bay.

A crime scene has been set up at the hotel, which was closed during the global financial crisis before being damaged by Cyclone Yasi.

The resort, leased by Keith Williams in 2007, was in the process of being transferred to a consortium of Gold Coast investors including land developer Grant Cameron and Neil Wormwell, chairman of Impact Homes, who is one of the island’s largest land owners. The consortium bought the Port Hinchinbrook resort including a marina, shipyard, public boat ramp and tavern for just over $2 million. The entire parcel was put on the market last year with high hopes of $10 million.

In July the island was hit by an oil slick on the Great Barrier Reef, the cause of which is still under investigation.

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