REVEALED: The truth behind Old Woman Island
STUNNING photographs taken by a drone have shown what is on one of the Sunshine Coast's most mysterious and iconic landmarks, Old Woman Island.
Property Today real estate agent John Anderson took the photographs with his drone as he always gets asked questions about the island located less than a kilometre off Mudjimba.
It shows the dilapidated ruins of an old building, which begs the question "who lived there".
One of the last people to own the lease on the island's wife has revealed a little of its history.
Libby Troy's late husband, Peter, the Australian surfing legend, used to stay in a "hut" on the island and commute to Marcoola with a tinnie when he owned the lease in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mrs Troy has also dispelled one of the most common urban myths about the island, that Sean Connery owned it or stayed on it for his honeymoon with Diane Cilento.
The couple owned a unit at Parkyn Parade in Mooloolaba.
But James Bond never made it to the island.
"He never once set foot on the island," Mrs Troy said.
"The truth is, a female surfer on the Coast, Kim McKenzie, who had the lease on the shark nets was asked by Connery and his wife, Diane Cilento, to take them out to the island."
"But the sea was too rough, they never came ashore."
Peter took the lease on the island as it gave him the perfect opportunity to get the best surf breaks.
"Basically, he wanted it for surfing," Mrs Troy said.
"He could walk out in the morning and have a surf on the right or have a surf on the left."
The island had a "hut" on it, which Mrs Troy said had been built by a retired airline pilot, John Sewell who once also owned the lease.
"He and his wife built a hut out there, from concrete and salt water," she said.
Apparently it even had a swimming pool on it and vegie patch.
The island wasn't a cheap holiday home for Mr Troy.
"We paid more leases and fees for Old Woman Island than the person who leased Hamilton Island had to," she said.
The couple also had to pay council rates and taxes, including fees for garbage collection.
It was just ludicrous, we paid the same rates as those on the Mudjimba shore line."
Peter used to get annoyed when he would return to his island home and find surfers got into the house.
Mr Anderson's photos show the scattered remains of the original dwelling.
Mrs Troy said "you can thank the environment and heritage people for that".
A decision was made around 2006 to remove the roof on the hut because it had asbestos.
"A chopper came in and took the roof off, which destroyed the house," she said.
By this time, Mr Troy no longer owned the lease.
He sold it in 1991, but within a year the State Government took the leases back.
"It is an environmental park now," she said.
"There are a lot of islands that no longer have leases and they don't do anything to maintain the islands.
"About 12 years after Peter gave over the lease, rangers rang Pete to ask how to get on the island.
"They'd had it for over 10 years and the couldn't work that out."
Peter never returned to the island after the no longer had the lease.
"He wasn't interested in going to it. It was a chapter in his life that was over."
Sunshine Coast Daily journalist, Bill Hoffman, has had a long association with the island and was involved in securing its inclusion as part of the Maroochy River Conservation Park.
He said it was the subject "of at least two Aboriginal legends".
One involved two women making a home on the island, where there were midyim berry bushes. When only one of the women could be seen on the island, it became known as Old Woman Island.
The same legend concerned the midyim berry bush - hence 'midyam' becoming altered to 'Mudjimba'.
A second legend interpreted the island as being the head knocked off the top of a warrior, Coolum, which is represented as the flat-topped Mount Coolum about 6km northwards.