Gold Coast: History

Surfer's paradise

Gold Coast History

Captain James Cook became the first European to note the region when he sailed along the coast on May 16, 1770 in the HM Bark Endeavour. Many escaped convicts from the nearby Moreton Bay penal settlement hid in the surrounding area, the region remaining largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach, which was named after his boat, a cutter named Mermaid. The populace of the area was boosted as the hinterland's red cedar supply attracted large numbers of people to the area in the mid 1800s.

The western suburb of Nerang was surveyed and established as a base for the industry. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for the upper class Brisbane residents. In 1925, tourism to the area grew rapidly when Jim Cavill established the Surfers Paradise Hotel, which transformed to Circle on Cavill neighbouring with Towers of Chevron Renaissance shopping mall and resort apartment complex. The population grew steadily to support the tourism industry and by the 1940s, real estate speculators and journalists were referring to the area as the "Gold Coast." The true origin of the name is still debatable. The name "Gold Coast" was officially proclaimed in 1958 when the South Coast Town Council was renamed "Gold Coast Town Council".

During the 1970s, real-estate developers gained a dominant role in local politics, and high-rises began to dominate the area now known as Surfers Paradise and later in 1981 the airport was established. In 1994 the Gold Coast City Council and the Shire of Albert amalgamated to create new city boundaries under the administration of the City of Gold Coast Council. In recent years, the Gold Coast has continued to develop as one of the nation’s best tourist destinations and build upon its reputations as a holiday hotspot surrounded by a host of first-rate attractions, cultural landmarks and area of stunning natural beauty.