Dianne Weedon, was a young and ambitious 23-year-old who graduated in Home Economics and moved to the Gold Coast to start her career as Catering Manager at Seaworld Resort. With a dream to travel the world and learn more about the hospitality industry, Dianne was the first Australian student to be granted a place at the renowned Cordon Bleu School in Paris. In her travels around France and Europe she quickly became intrigued by ‘home away from home establishments’ – offering luxurious accommodation, impeccable and personalised attention and a fine fare dining experience.
Despite significant difficulties, Dianne's passion for hospitality never faltered, wishing to create Australia’s most exclusive guesthouse.
Taking a drive with friends one day, Dianne found herself in the small village of Maleny - the idyllic setting she had always envisioned. Deciding on the location was one thing, finding a site that fulfilled the specific requirements would be another. Months later, Dianne inspected a 30 acre property on Maleny Road and began to envision where the house would stand, the placement of the gardens, tennis court and pool.
Next was to find an architect to take the vision to paper. The brief that was given to Frank Raadschelders, a local Sunshine Coast Architect, was to create a building to externally reflect the elements of the Federation and Queensland Vernacular styles, show romantic traces reminiscent of the smaller rural French chateau, perhaps a hint at the spirit of a Swiss chalet, yet to be uniquely appropriate to the terrain.
Every detail was considered during the design of the building, from consideration of the climate; to the pitch of the roof and dormer windows; to the private balconies allowing guests to take in the ocean views.
Wanting to be apart of her vision, Dianne was the onsite Project Manager, however not many builders were prepared to allow this supervisory responsibility, or the freedom to select her own sub-contractors. Local builder, David Wilson, was not only excited about the project and working alongside Dianne, but was a craftsman to whom the word ‘compromise’ did not exist.
After two years, Dianne Weedon opened the doors to Maleny Manor in August 1989 as Australia’s most exclusive guesthouse. Complete with six ensuited accommodation suites, two dining rooms, state of the art kitchen, ceiling hung open fireplace, sauna and indoor Jacuzzi, as well as outdoor swimming pool, tennis court and manicured gardens. The ‘all inclusive’ price per night included all meals prepared by Dianne herself, free flowing beverages from the cellar and bar, as well as a high level of customer service.
Thirty one years on and Maleny Manor’s door are still open and welcoming guests to the stunning private property. While the grounds and building have seen some additions over the years, and the exterior shade of blue to a classic white, Maleny Manor is proud to be one of the first private wedding and events venue on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and continues to be an industry leader providing all of the core requirements that Dianne envisioned for her exclusive guesthouse - luxurious venue, personalised service with impeccable attention to detail and a fine fare dining experience.
Credit to Queensland Homes Summer 1990 ‘The Making of the Manor’ for facts and information listed within this article and images