Design, Project updates | 5 min read

History in the making in Maroochydore

Chris Boyle
29/03/19

An iconic original Queenslander home, with deep routes in architectural design, finds a new home on the Sunshine Coast.

“Coo-ee” The Whalley Beach House – early painting on the Maroochy River (circa 1910 – 1920)

Staking it’s claim as Maroochydore’s premium residence, last year Avalon won the prestigious UDIA Qld Award for Design Excellence. This ultra-exclusive development emulates 6-star resort style luxury, the pinnacle of impeccable style. But long before Avalon, the site was steeped with award-winning architectural and family holiday history, and it was imperative to Mosaic that we preserved this for future generations to enjoy.

Architectural Pedigree

Long associated with remarkable architecture, the site was previously the home of formative architect and planner James Birrell, whose career spanned more than 50 years of creating distinguished buildings and contributing to the landscape of Australian architecture.

“Coo-ee”, purchased in 1977 by James Birrell, photographed just prior to being removed and transported to it’s new home in Bli Bli

The Original Beach House

Before it became the home of a national architectural treasure, it was the home of William McDougall Whalley who built the iconic house as his family’s coastal weekender in 1908 – 1910.  The Whalley’s were a wealthy family from Nambour who enjoyed spending weekends on the Maroochy River until 1977, when it was purchased by James Birrell as his permanent home to raise his family.

The Whalley Family enjoying their riverfront beach house “Coo-ee” circa 1940

A New Life for “Coo-ee”

It was important to Mosaic that we helped to preserve some of this rich history, as well as utilise sustainable practices and recycle where possible. We pride ourselves on our connection to the community and river location and felt it was important to honour the home, so with the assistance of McKay & Sons, we were able to find a new home for this icon Queenslander.

Helen and Shane Truscott jumped at the chance to re-home “Coo-ee” to their large 2 acre block in Bli Bli, which now sits next to another river not far away from it’s original site. Due to the historical significance, the Truscotts are only lightly renovating the home as they want to be mindful of keeping it in its current timeline during renovation.

“Coo-ee” standing proud at it’s new location awaiting some light restorative
work to bring it back to it’s former glory

The 2 acre block of land “Coo-ee” has moved to also sits on the land with an original 1890’s home, which is one of the first houses on the Sunshine Coast. The Truscotts are hoping to reignite “Coo-ee’s” history as an Airbnb for the public to enjoy and the 1890’s home styled as a creative studio for hire to local artists.

Helen said, “I feel our Bli Bli block is a mixture of rags to riches, as ‘Coo-ee’ was originally owned by a wealthy family on the Sunshine Coast and the 1890’s home was originally owned by a family with a more modest background. It’s an eclectic mix and we just love the story behind them and how they came to be together.”

They are also hoping to restore the track behind “Coo-ee” so there is a link once again from the home to the river.

“After renovations and sharing the property with the public, our plan is to eventually move into it as our family home.” she said.

The Truscott’s Bli Bli acreage property from 2018, before Coo-ee was relocated. Image: Google Earth

New Timeless Design

Avalon, the newest addition to Maroochydore’s architectural scene, will set an unrivalled design standard. Exceptionally distinctive yet complementary to its waterfront location, Avalon’s definitive class and style is timeless.

Avalon has honoured James Birrell through the significant architecture and timeless design. Mr Birrell was known to love the sanctuary of the river, and we feel privileged to be able to provide this experience for our future Avalon residents, with an uninterrupted river connection.

The iconic riverfront home has made way for a stunning award-winning development,
but it’s memory will thankfully continue to live on 

Avalon is set on a very rare, coveted position directly on the banks of the pristine Maroochy River with private pontoon access to enjoy the best of coastal waterfront living, from boating, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing or kayaking, to simply relaxing on the balcony and enjoying the fresh breezes and breathtaking views.

Generous open planning maximises space, functionality, natural light and breezes, connecting to expansive balconies that capture majestic views of the Maroochy River, Cotton Tree, hinterland and future CBD

Ensuring our projects are sustainable is of utmost importance to us which is why we have implemented initiatives throughout Avalon in support of environmental improvement and ecological development, just as we have across all of our previous projects. Our goal is to have a minimal amount of impact in the communities in which we build, and to hopefully bring something to region that will add value.

We would like to thank Helen and Shane Truscott, not only for breathing life back into “Coo-ee” but for supplying us with the photographic history of 100 Duporth Avenue, Maroochydore.