|A new era for Cape York Icon|
|Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:44|
Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation is proud to announce that the historic Homestead Guesthouse in Coen is under new management. Adai Cape York Investments Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the Cape York Charitable Trust– 100% Cape York Indigenous owned, recently purchased the Guesthouse and has appointed Balkanu to operate the business as a commercial indigenous enterprise.
The Coen Homestead was the first building in Coen built in 1933 by the Taylor family– pastoralists who have remained in Coen and operated the Guesthouse until its sale at the end of 2010.
Balkanu Chief Executive Gerhardt Pearson said Traditional Owners of the area wish to maintain and further promote the important heritage value of the site, which has been a social centrepiece in Cape York for more than 80 years.
"Along with the Quinkan Festival and the Laura and Coen rodeo and races, the Coen Homestead Guesthouse is a Cape icon representing our region's pastoral history which needs to be conserved and showcased," said Mr Pearson.
The purchase of the Homestead provided the Coen indigenous community with an opportunity to capture and grow its contribution to the tourism market he added.
"Coen is experiencing a renaissance under the Cape York Welfare Reform Agenda with significant positive change in social responsibility, and school attendance and achievement. We have 18 rangers flourishing in caring for country roles".
"While we continue to tackle major land tenure security issues which stifle investment and development of facilities, this Guesthouse business has created a buzz of enthusiasm with its capacity to provide immediate jobs and training and a real economic return from tourism. 60,000 people visit Cape York each year and as an ideal halfway stop-over point between Cairns and the tip of the Cape, Coen should be a significant economic player in the region".
"We will be working closely with the other businesses in Coen and the Cook Shire to attract the existing visitor market and grow indigenous cultural tourism," Mr Pearson said.
Balkanu welcomes Linda Marsterson to the role of manager. Linda is well known and respected in Coen, and will play an important role in helping Balkanu develop jobs and training opportunities. At the end of this wet season Linda will be coordinating an upgrade including the installation of air conditioning and flyscreens in all rooms.