Whitsunday Park Estate developer Garry Poole with his pet Macaw, Bluey, and Indonesian Dusky Lory, Screech, standing in front of his Cessna 206 plane. Picture: Heidi Petith
Whitsunday Park Estate developer Garry Poole with his pet Macaw, Bluey, and Indonesian Dusky Lory, Screech, standing in front of his Cessna 206 plane. Picture: Heidi Petith

A home among the gumtrees with an airfield out the back

Nestled among the quiet streets of a rural town about an hour's drive north of Mackay is a pilot's playground with a 1.1km bitumen airstrip.

At the end next to the helicopter pad is the home belonging to Garry Poole, the passionate local behind the Bloomsbury Whitsunday Park Estate.

The helipad at the Whitsunday Park Estate. Mr Poole also keeps his own fire engine on standby should emergency services wish to use it. Picture: Heidi Petith
The helipad at the Whitsunday Park Estate. Mr Poole also keeps his own fire engine on standby should emergency services wish to use it. Picture: Heidi Petith

The development consists of two lots of 35 two-hectare blocks each sold with access to the estate's Lakeside Airfield.

Approved plans for the Whitsunday Park Estate at 61 Whitsunday Drive, Bloomsbury. Picture: Cardno Limited.
Approved plans for the Whitsunday Park Estate at 61 Whitsunday Drive, Bloomsbury. Picture: Cardno Limited.

"(The estate's) being built around pilots," Mr Poole said.

"We've got 16 hangars and two more ready to start.

"There's about 30-odd planes there now.

"You don't get charged any landing fees, it's good safe hanger (space)."

GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Lakeside Airfield, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
GSL Aviation chief maintenance engineer Matt Harding (centre) with first year apprentice Theodore Brown (right) and fourth year apprentice Cal Taylor (right) standing in front of a 1950s seaplane at their hangar at Lakeside Airfield, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

Companies including GSL Aviation, which runs charter flights over the Whitsundays, and a skydiving operator have already snapped up hangar space, as has Airlie Beach resident Ivan Lizarralde.

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Mr Lizarralde, a pilot for more than 30 years, said he chose the Bloomsbury site instead of one in the Whitsundays because it had more "reasonable" rates.

Airlie Beach resident Ivan Lizarralde with his plane under the hangar at Lakeside Airfield, Whitsunday Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith
Airlie Beach resident Ivan Lizarralde with his plane under the hangar at Lakeside Airfield, Whitsunday Park Estate, Bloomsbury. Picture: Heidi Petith

"The people here are a lot more easier going - the camaraderie - it's a friendly, community environment," Mr Lizarralde said.

With the location only a 12 minute flight from Hamilton Island, Mr Poole said it offered a more relaxed lifestyle being sought after by people as far south as Victoria.

Approved plans for the Whitsunday Park Estate at 61 Whitsunday Drive, Bloomsbury. Mr Poole said the now bitumen airstrip was used as an agricultural landing zone for more than 30 years. Picture: Cardno Limited.
Approved plans for the Whitsunday Park Estate at 61 Whitsunday Drive, Bloomsbury. Mr Poole said the now bitumen airstrip was used as an agricultural landing zone for more than 30 years. Picture: Cardno Limited.

"All of a sudden we're getting a bit of a growth spurt," Mr Poole said.

"The airfield's going ahead in leaps and bounds.

"They just keep ringing."

Whitsunday Park Estate developer and passionate Bloomsbury local, Garry Poole, in front of the mango trees at his home. Behind them is a large dam which had black swans swimming in it. Picture: Heidi Petith
Whitsunday Park Estate developer and passionate Bloomsbury local, Garry Poole, in front of the mango trees at his home. Behind them is a large dam which had black swans swimming in it. Picture: Heidi Petith

Mackay Regional Councillor Belinda Hassan said the aviation estate, and the businesses that had already claimed hangars, was great for regional tourism as fly-in visitors were likely to spend their money locally.

"I think it's fantastic … for a community the size of Bloomsbury and Midge Point to have something like this kind of facility here," Cr Hassan said.

To find out more about the estate at 61 Whitsunday Drive, phone Mr Poole on 0418 711 224 or email office@cpd4510.com

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This story was thanks to the My Town series - a Daily Mercury and Mackay Regional Council initiative.

My Town is about telling the stories of Mackay and surrounds that matter to you.
My Town is about telling the stories of Mackay and surrounds that matter to you.

Let us tell the stories that matter to you and if you think we should come to your town, send us an email to mackay@news.com.au

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