Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison built a home on Hamilton Island in the 1980s.
Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison built a home on Hamilton Island in the 1980s.

Flashback: When a Beatles member lived in the Whitsundays

BEFORE Hamilton Island was a bustling tourist destination, it was the holiday home of a former Beatles band member and lead guitarist.

George Harrison bought a sublease in 1984 for 2.2ha of land on which he built a multimillion-dollar home.

The land was on the northern end of the island and sloped down to the sea.

His wife Olivia Harrison told Architectural Digest in 2007 the South Pacific style, thatched roof property was called Letsbeavenue and featured a pool that came into the home.

The Beatles members George Harrison and John Lennon perform at Festival Hall in Melbourne during their Australian tour in 1964. Picture: HWT ARCHIVAL NEGATIVE (222)
The Beatles members George Harrison and John Lennon perform at Festival Hall in Melbourne during their Australian tour in 1964. Picture: HWT ARCHIVAL NEGATIVE (222)

She said her "shell-shocked" husband wanted an escape from the loud noises, somewhere in the sunshine.

Mrs Harrison said living there was sometimes like being at the zoo.

"Except we were the ones in the cage, because we'd get monitor lizards, wallabies and snakes at the windows looking in at us," she told the publication.

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After Harrison's death in 2001, the property - which was the largest house on the island - was embroiled in legal action that went all the way to the Queensland Supreme Court.

The Beatles members George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon with stand-in drummer Jimmy Nico (left) at a press conference in Melbourne during their Australian tour in 1964. Picture: HWT Archival Negative
The Beatles members George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon with stand-in drummer Jimmy Nico (left) at a press conference in Melbourne during their Australian tour in 1964. Picture: HWT Archival Negative

In 2008, Leslie Boss and Deborah Owen - the trustees of Harrison's estate - took Hamilton Island Enterprises to court after they refused to consent to the sale of the property as a holiday house to George Adams and his company Northaust for $8.5 million.

Court documents stated Mr Adams wished to renovate and extend the house for his family but he refused to comply with HIE's building and tree preservation guidelines and its rules for island behaviour.

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The case turned ugly with HIE threatening to kick Mr Adams off the island and refuse him entry after he had already spent about $30,000 on building work including removing timber damaged from termites.

Judge McMurdo ruled in favour of Mr Harrison's trustees and when HIE appealed the decision in 2009, this too was rejected.

Have you spotted Harrison's former property on the island? Email heidi.petith@news.com.au

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