An artist’s impression of the infinity pool at the Pinnacle Country Club at Palm Lake resort in Toowoomba.It started out as a caravan park in Victoria and is now one of the biggest providers of retirement lifestyle resorts in Australia.The Queensland-based Palm Lake Group, which is responsible for the Palm Lake Resorts in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, is celebrating 40 years this summer, with a host of new projects in the works.Company founder Walter Elliott said a trip to the United States to explore the residential park model in 1973 changed the business trajectory.“Speaking with some of the over-50s’ residents there, I noticed that people could live quite well in a managed village,” Walter said. “I decided to develop something along the same lines here in Australia. A site came up in 1976 in Bangholme, Victoria, and I purchased Willow Lodge in 1977.”His son Scott Elliott recalled mowing the lawns at Willow Lodge before becoming an on-site manager and, eventually, the managing director of the Palm Lake Group.“Of all the Palm Lake Resort locations, it’s (Willow Lodge) my favourite because of the maturity and enhancement that we have achieved at that site,” Walter said.But soon after acquiring Willow Lodge, it was time to look north, with the company buying an existing resort in Bethania on Brisbane’s south side. Palm Lake Resort Toowoomba.Earthworks are currently underway on a fifth Palm Lake Care facility at Mt Warren Park. Scott Elliott said the company was working on a “handful of further locations” on Australia’s east coast with “at least three years of development plans already on the drawing board”. “Every new resort, village or aged care facility we complete, there are people who copy our ideas, our style, our design and even our business model,” he said. “Copycats are unavoidable but when they come out, you know you’re doing something right – they are paying us a compliment to a degree. Palm Lake Resort Beachmere Bay is going Hampton’s style.It was this site where the Palm Lake Resorts brand was born. Scott Elliott said residents Jean and Lindsay Dobson came up with the name, which was inspired by the grand palm trees and adjoining lake.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach Northless than 1 hour agoNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by “We liked the name, so it stuck,” said Scott who took on the role of live-in resort manager. He said he learned valuable lessons in those early days.“I learnt about treating people right – from the residents and the committee members to the staff. It’s something I’m still passionate about today,” Scott said. “We have nearly 7000 residents across all the Palm Lake Resorts and they are all welcome to my phone number if they need me – many do call me direct.”From Bethania, Palm Lake Group purchased its first greenfield site at Banora Point. It’s next venture was at Deception Bay, with that development selling out in just 18 months. Palm Lake Group, which has its headquarters on the Gold Coast, now operates 20 manufactured home estates, including the new Caloundra Cay development, and three retirement villages alongside four Palm Lake Care facilities. Palm Lake Resort Toowoomba.“What they don’t realise is that this makes us raise the bar and set new challenges for ourselves.”The lifestyle resorts have enviable facilities, from competition-style, eight rink, undercover lawn bowls greens, professional tenpin bowling alleys, luxury cinemas, state-of-the-art gymnasiums, resort-style pools and amenities.The company owns and operates 14 sites in Queensland.