For centuries, Baroon Pocket was an important gathering place for the aboriginal people in South East Queensland. In 1843 the explorer, Leichardt, reported that the plain that aboriginals called ‘Booroon’ was the rendezvous for mock fights between tribes who came from near and far to enjoy the bi-annual harvest of the Bunya Tree. Leichardt came across Obi-Obi Creek (thought to be named after the warrior Ubie Ubie) and the site of several bora rings.
In 1984 George and Aldy Johnston were living in Baroon Pocket, on a farm that was bordered by the beautiful Obi Obi creek with sparkling waterfalls, swimming lagoons and rapids. They had chickens and cows, kiwifruit orchards and a huge veggie patch. They grew fields of watermelons, tomatoes and peas. They also had big dreams of what they wanted to do with their land – George and Aldy had plans to build treehouse cabins down by the creek for visitors to the area to enjoy.
However, their plans became somewhat sidelined when their land was resumed to build what is now Lake Baroon, a $40 million dollar project that now provides water to the Caloundra and Maroochy Shires. Their plans were only put on hold momentarily however, as their good friend and neighbour Steve Weiss offered to sell them what remained of his land after it was also partially resumed for the lake.
It took George and Aldy years of hard work and planning to build the haven they had been envisioning for years on their new land – first came the boathouse, built with recycled timbers and features, followed by the old Beerburrum Railway Station in search of a new name and home. Slowly, slowly the treehouses were designed and built, high in the rainforest filled with amazing woodcarvings, suspended fireplaces, and sumptuous spas. None of these buildings and walkways would have been possible without the major building construction and artwork of our son Rob, a gifted and visionary craftsman and hands-on builder.
They finally opened their business ‘Treetop Cabins on The Lake’ (which was later renamed to ‘Secrets on The Lake’) in 1997, and have been adding and extending the business and facilities ever since. Aldy had a dream or two of her own along the way and Secrets Café is the culmination of a lifetime’s devotion to culinary delights and creative healthy cooking, and each new cabin, extension or change is discussed at length, researched or tested and embraced with enthusiasm.
For George and Aldy, Secrets on the Lake is more then just a business, it is the culmination of all of their dreams and plans.