George Harrison, guitarist, singer, songwriter, is best known as the former lead guitarist for the Beatles and co-founder of the Travelling Wilburys. George and his wife Olivia Arias Harrison, along with their son Dhani, designed a house to build on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia, in 1987.

Beatlemania

When George was with the Beatles, he fulfilled many of his dreams, however being with the Beatles had a significant effect on George, not in a good way.

Madness and Loss of Privacy

Their Producer, George Martin, reportedly said, “no one except those boys knows what they went through.” Imagine a life where one loses all one’s privacy. Over five or six years, the Beatles collectively endured constant screaming where ever they went.

One can only try to imagine what it was like for them, living their life while contending with fans who were constantly trying to get to them in any way they could. They had to endure constant screaming and sometimes invasive actions by some fans who were always clamoring to catch a glimpse of them everywhere they went. Sadly, there were even some death threats; all four Beatles were more than aware of the risks of being killed by some crazed person.

The whole experience affected George profoundly; it was overwhelming, and something very few has known the likes off.

The Beatles Ed Sullivan Show-foreground George February 9 1964

He Hated Being Famous

He wanted to become unfamous; he wanted the freedoms that ordinary people had; he sought an escape, somewhere away from all the madness that had changed his life.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “George was always on a quest to get as far away as he could.”

 

George Harrisons Hamilton Island-house-The internal entrance gate

The internal entrance gate

Georges Other Houses

George has owned many other homes in England and around the world; he owned houses in Hawaii, Los Angeles, and a gorgeous estate in Switzerland where he received treatment for cancer. His last home was Friar Park in the UK, which his wife and son Dani still occupy.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “We found Hawaii and built a house there. But he wanted to keep going. We went to Tasmania, New Zealand, Australia. I had the feeling that he maxed the planet out, looking for solitude. It was about How far away can I get?’ “

George and Olivia Harrisons house in Hawaii

George and Olivia Harrisons house in Hawaii

A Desire to Live Tropical

George wanted to live somewhere far away, and where there was lots of sunshine, that was his mission. Like the other Beatles, George came from Liverpool, England, where there were cold and frosty winters and inclement weather. He wanted to live someplace warm and tropical, very far away.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “Our final visit to Letsbeavenue was in the year 2000,” “It was the last of our big journeys together, before an even bigger journey for George.”

George Harrisons Hamilton Island House-Pool area

Pool area

Why George Chose Hamilton Island

George was very keen to live in a tropical island setting. Perhaps his father’s stories told to George when he was a sailor might have influenced his taste for sunny tropical locations. His father would often talk about the green tropical places he saw in the Pacific ocean during his time as a sailor.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “The huts were to the right and the main house on the left. The living room featured a tree trunk that George found on the island.

George Harrisons Hamilton Island House-view over pool to the ocean

View over pool to the ocean

Sir Jackie Stewart

While in Hawaii during the early 1980s, British racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart, an old friend of George, asked George to come to Australia for the Australian Grand Prix. Jackie was aware of the island’s existence and made George aware of it.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “Jackie knew about Hamilton Island.”

Hamilton Island in 1987

Hamilton Island was in a very early stage of development at the time the Harrisons first went there. They shared the island with many other wild creatures.

George Harrisons Hamilton Island House-Bedroom

Main Bedroom

George Harrison reportedly said that” At times like being in a zoo, except we were the ones in the cage because we’d see monitor lizards, kookaburras, wallabies, and snakes at the windows looking in at us.”

There was only one bungalow on the whole island when they first went there in 1997. The island was beautiful, pristine, just what George was looking for. The Harrisons purchased a six-acre lot placed high on a cliff. It was there that they built their private tropical sanctuary over the next four years.

George Harrisons Hamilton Island House-Bed room and living area

Bed room and living area

For George, it was ideal at the time, and he truly loved being there. George still had many fond memories of Australia from the time he toured there with the Beatles during the touring phase of their career.

House Location

The Harrisons house is in Melaleuca Drive on Hamilton Island. It was a long way from their Henley-on-Thames mansion in the UK, which was their principal residence at that time. By intention, George had a strong desire to get as far away as possible; Hamilton Island fulfilled that desire.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said, “He used to go around the island, nicking plants for our garden. He’d even take big trees and replant them, ” said Olivia. George said, “I want it to be a jungle.” in time, a great deal of foliage had obscured most of the property.

George Harrisons Hamilton Island-House-Bar and lounge

Bar and lounge

George Harrison’s House Design

According to his wife Olivia, George sketched his ideas for the house and gave them to the architect Roger Parkin who, together with George, designed the house. Part of Georges’s brief was to ensure that the home could cater to visiting family and friends.

“I’m really quite simple. I plant flowers and watch them grow… I stay at home and watch the river flow.” George Harrison

The Design

The home’s design is in keeping with its surroundings, just as George and Olivia had intended.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said that “George loved the South Pacific look, says Olivia Harrison. “He wanted the house to look natural, to fit in with the island landscape.

George Harrisons Hamilton Island House-Bar and lounge towards pool

Bar and lounge towards the pool

When he designed it, he wanted round thatched structures like [Fijian] bure’s. Because the walls are curved, they were hard to decorate. But he didn’t buy paintings. He liked sculpted objects—New Guinea art especially. He purchased many fertility objects, totems, and tapa cloth.”

The house boasts beautiful sweeping views, rambling gardens, and timber finishes. The three guest huts are constructed from bamboo and indigenous materials.The home also features an organically shaped pool that is fed with waterfalls.

George and Olivia Harrison

George and Olivia Harrison

George Harrisons Hamilton -Newspaper article

Newspaper article

George Named the House

George named the South Pacific-Style home “Letsbeavenue,” The name was reportedly derived from a line used by the British comedian Tommy Cooper “Let’s be havin’ you.”

Olivia Harrison reportedly said, “George was a Pisces, so he liked to have water around.”

George & Olivia Harrisons former house Hamilton Island 2021

George & Olivia Harrisons former house Hamilton Island 2021

George Harrison’s House Sold

The house was sold to Melbourne developer George Adams for 8 million, a record price. The house had deteriorated into a state of disrepair after Georges’s death from lung cancer in 2001. In time, a great deal of foliage had obscured most of the property.

Olivia Harrison reportedly said, “We swam a lot in the natural ponds in Hawaii and tried to create that feeling.” “the pool comes into the house, and there’s a walkway over it. He always wanted to walk on water, so walking over the water was the next best thing,”

Hamilton Island looking towards Cats Eye Beach 2021

Hamilton Island looking towards Cats Eye Beach 2021

Other Famous People Who Have Visited Hamilton Island

Some celebrities have chosen Hamilton Island as their holiday destination in previous years; Johnny Depp, Taylor Swift, Miranda Kerr, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Watts, Chris Hemsworth, and PINK.

Oprah Winfrey - Other celebrities who have been to Hamilton Island

Oprah Winfrey – Other celebrities who have been to Hamilton Island

Conclusion

The house is only slightly visible from a few vantage points. If ever you visit the island and plan to see where the Harrisons once lived. Please be mindful that the house is now privately owned. The owners are very mindful of their privacy. If you do visit, please respect that privacy?

References

Theroux, P. (2016, October 12). George Harrison’s House in Australia. Architectural Digest. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/george-harrison-home-article

Qantas.com. (2018). 14 Things to do on Hamilton Island. [online] Available at: https://www.qantas.com/travelinsider/en/explore/australia/queensland/hamilton-island/things-to-do-on-hamilton-island.html [Accessed July 22. 2021].

thebeatlesinthenews.blogspot.com. (n.d.). The Beatles In The News. [online] Available at: http://thebeatlesinthenews.blogspot.com/2015_01_29_archive.html.

Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Dhani Harrison. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhani_Harrison [Accessed 10 Dec. 2019].