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(AUSTRALIA) Story Report: Behind ‘Far North Queensland’s ‘ unfinished, derelict buildings one such building is an ‘unfinished castle’ #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Dec.06: There are plenty of half-built remains beside highways and main roads across the region to remind people what happens when dreams don’t come true: One of those properties is an unfinished castle west of the small Atherton Tableland town of Millaa Millaa.

#AceDailyNews says that Far North Queensland can be a tough place to live with cyclones, scorching heat, and rain that is measured in metres. It can be a place of dreams and sometimes nightmares ABC News Report:

concrete ruins in a grass paddock
This castle near Millaa Millaa in Far North Queensland was never finished.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

A man and his castle

Yugoslav immigrant Andy Markovic had dreams of building an English-style manor that looked out over the green valleys of the tablelands.

Mr Markovic started building his dream house on the site of an old Queenslander by adding another storey, complete with a castle-like turret.

Mr Markovic locked horns with local authorities over building permits and never got to see his dream home completed.

The final nail in the coffin was Cyclone Larry in 2006 which damaged the mostly hand-built property.

Mr Markovic passed away in early 2020 and the property was then sold to a local grazier.

A concrete turret on top of a unfinished grey building
The unfinished castle had turrets and gargoyles.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

Bygone zoo

On the Captain Cook Highway at Clifton Beach are the remains of one of the Far North’s most loved attractions.

The Cairns Tropical Zoo closed in 2015; the site had been a wildlife attraction under different names since the 1960s.

A developer bought the site in 2015 and has plans to demolish the zoo, replacing it with a service station and two fast-food restaurants.

The proposal is yet to gain council approval.

The front of a building covered in graffiti
The Cairns Tropical Zoo was one of the region’s most popular attractions until it closed in 2015.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

Frog on the Banana

The Frog on the Banana has been sitting beside the Bruce Highway at Daradgee since 2002.

Mark Contempree built the fruit stall after moving to the Cassowary Coast from Coffs Harbour, the home of another big attraction.

“In Coffs, they had the Big Banana, and I was growing bananas and I wanted an iconic fruit stall out the front of my farm to sell excess stock,” he said.

The store was forced to close after major flooding in March 2018.

More recently it was a rental property before being declared an illegal dwelling as its zoning was for a roadside fruit stall.

Now the building sits boarded up with the Frog on the Banana sitting by itself just off the highway.

Fiberglass Frog on the Banana statue
The Frog on Banana has been a icon on the side of the Bruce Highway for more than 20 years.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

A clubhouse among the wallabies

Old Polocrosse building and tower
The old polocrosse club has been marked for demolition to make way for a cricket ground.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

At the back of the Trinity Beach sports precinct lies a paddock that was once home to the Cairns Polocrosse Club.

The building is just visible to drivers who can see the top of the clubhouse as they travel south along the Captain Cook Highway.

While the clubhouse is still there, the horses are long gone and the paddocks are now home to hundreds of agile wallabies.

The building was erected in 1982 and the last game of polo was played in 2015.

Due to a lack of members, the club closed and the building is to be demolished to make way for cricket grounds.

A faded old sign that say polocrosse played here
The old polo club’s faded signs and bordered-up building.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

Unfinished mansion 

Not much is known about the “Mirriwinni mansion”, an unfinished house on the corner of the Bruce Highway and Jackson Street in Mirriwinni, except that hundreds of people pull over every year to take photos of it.

An old concrete house sits unfinished in a cane paddock
The Mirriwinni mansion has been sitting unfinished for over a decade.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

The house has been sitting half-finished for more than a decade and is now falling into disrepair.

The land was put on the market in 2016 before the owners withdrew the sale and it is now leased to a local farmer for sugar cane.

Old concrete building surrounded by cane fields
The land around the Mirriwinni mansion has been leased to a local cane farmer.(ABC Far North: Phil Brandel)

The owners did not respond to requests about the house from the ABC.

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Dec.06: 2021:

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