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Gold Coast history and heritage

Discover how the City of Gold Coast is working to conserve and celebrate the rich and unique heritage of the Gold Coast.

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Nerang history

Click to enlarge Nerang Township, circa 1908. Photographer unknown.

Nerang Township, circa 1908.
Photographer unknown.

Maid of Sker at Nerang Wharf, circa 1900. Photographer unknown.

Maid of Sker at Nerang Wharf, circa 1900.
Photographer unknown.

Nerang State School, circa 1922. Photographer unknown.

Nerang State School, circa 1922.
Photographer unknown.

  1. The site of the present township was called Birribi after spirals of dead bark hanging from eucalypts.
  2. The site of the present township was called Eejung meaning wet grassy flats.
  3. After the Nerang River neerang meaning little or shovel nosed shark.

All the early writers suggest that the river was named by Europeans after the local dialect word neerang, meaning either little or shovel nosed shark.

The local Aborigines referred to the river as Mogumbin or Been-goor-abee.

The Tweed tribes called the river Talgai

Cotton and sugar plantations

The story of the Nerang Township began with the development of cotton and sugar plantations on the Nerang River at Carrara, Bundall, and Benowa.

In 1865, after completing survey work at Benowa Plantation, Government Surveyor, Martin Lavelle, selected a site for a township on a slope overlooking the Nerang River.

Street names

He named the first surveyed streets after planters such as Edmund Price or the pastoralist William Duckett White.

By 1876, Nerang Township was a small postal township, with a school and hotel. The town served the needs of a rural population of farmers and timber workers and was a rail head for their produce and supplies after the town was linked to the railway in 1889.

Nerang community

In the early years, Nerang was an administrative centre for the region, with a courthouse, police station, and meeting place for local councillors.

Gradually, Southport assumed many of these roles and Nerang survived quietly as a picturesque centre of the Hinterland. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Gold Coast's population grew rapidly and many people made their homes in the new estates which had expanded into the hinterland.

Considerable commercial, service and light industrial development has grown around the town of Nerang.

The former sleepy hamlet is once again a centre for a number of significant communities.

Information and images provided by the City of Gold Coast Local Studies Collection.

Sources of information and further reading

Gresty, J.A., 1947, The Numinbah Valley, Its Geography History and Aboriginal associations, John Oxley Journal 2/80

Hanlon, W.E., 1935, John Oxley Journal 2/80

Meston Archibald, 1898, John Oxley Journal 2/80

Meston Archibald, 1905, John Oxley Journal 2/80

Meston Archibald, 1923, John Oxley Journal 2/80

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