When retired couple John and Elaine were caravanning around Australia in 1998 a fellow traveller in the Northern Territory recommended the free camping at Saunders Beach. In due course John and Elaine arrived at Saunders Beach, set up camp and strolled along the beach. They found a house for sale and within the hour had put down a $100 deposit. John and Elaine then returned to Noosa to sell their existing property. Starting a Bed & Breakfast in their new home appealed to the active couple but obtaining approval from the then Thuringowa City Council turned out to be a long process. The Council had never before had an application for a B&B. In the end no renovations were needed to the house and approval was granted for four guests with on-site parking only.
Peter Lindsay, MP for Herbert opened Windward House in March 2000.
With the death of her husband in 2007 Elaine retired and moved away. From an oral interview with Elaine Keane, April 2007. Newspaper clippings kindly supplied by Elaine Keane.
Lanette West said:
What great vision and determination Elaine and John Keane had in opening the first Bed & Breakfast at beautiful Saunders Beach, I imagine they had some very happy guests enjoying some wonderful R & R.
John and Elaine always supported the local community too. They donated weekend stays to be raffled at the annual Bush Fire Brigade Balls and held Melbourne Cup luncheons.
Margaret Melville said:
We became friendly with John & Elaine Keane, just after they bought their house on the Esplanade. What a lovely, friendly couple they were. . They invited my husband and I to the official opening of Windward House. Saunders Beach has many beautiful days, and this was this was a particularly memorable one. As people and television crews arrived, a pod of dolphins put on a show for the visitors. This was unplanned, but a welcome sight for us all. Then after the speeches were over, many black cockatoos flew amongst the nearby trees and over our heads.. These happenings made the opening of Windward House into a spectacle for John & Elaine Keane to remember and visitors, such as us, also.
Thank you very much Margaret for sharing such a wonderful memory.