Story By Tim Dub

The ‘desert island’ has often been portrayed in literature and film, depicting people who are marooned on a tropical hideaway. As a result of the experience, they either discover a utopia or fall apart spectacularly. Haggerstone Island – the quintessential island paradise – is almost too good to be true, and the real-life story of the Turner family who live there is as remarkable as the most imaginative fiction. “Haggerstone is just a beautiful island and we’ve tried to build things in a beautiful way,” Roy Turner says, quite simply. With courage and a measure of idealism, Roy and Anna Turner bought Haggerstone almost 25 years ago when it was uninhabited and covered in bush. Initially living in tents, they caught fish and grew vegetables to survive. Their vegetable garden is now a cornucopia of riches, and the tents have been replaced by a collection of extraordinary buildings. The central lodge, The Pavilion, is a supremely practical design for the special requirements of life so near the equator, just off the east coast of Queensland’s Cape York. But, at the same time, there is almost an atmosphere of unreality about it, as if the designer’s imagination has run free and the fantastic has been made real.

This story excerpt is from Issue #63

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2009