BY RODERICK EIME IN TOWNSVILLE
Iconic luxury Great Barrier Reef destination, Orpheus Island has been sold to Computershare Ltd founder, Chris Morris, who now runs hotel chain Colonial Leisure Group.
The island resort, 190km south of Cairns and 80km north of Townsville, was on the market for AUD$10 million having last sold for AUD$15 million some three years ago. The final selling price is believed to be substantially less than the advertised price.
Morris is keen to begin recruiting and training indigenous staff as part of a philanthropic plan to reposition the resort with an indigenous theme.
“Wherever possible we will be working with local indigenous communities to provide staff and enrichment activities for future guests,” Morris told HM. “And we’ll be looking to source and train staff from Palm Island wherever possible.”
Orpheus fortunately avoided major damage from the recent Cyclone Yasi and after minor renovations and clean-up, is expected to reopen in July after a soft opening in June.
General Manager of Destination Marketing and Development at Townsville Enterprise, Scott Waters, welcomed the news.
“The timing is perfect as we’ve just employed a new indigenous development officer for the region,” Waters told HM. “We’ll be looking forward to working hand-in-hand with Orpheus Island to development indigenous employment.”