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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.

Palm Beach history

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Click to enlarge Looking east along Palm Beach Avenue, circa 1928. Photographer unknown.

Looking east along Palm Beach Avenue,
circa 1928. Photographer unknown.

Palm Beach, 1936. Photographer unknown.

Palm Beach, 1936. Photographer unknown.

Henry Jordan, a Queensland parliamentarian and sugar planter living in the Logan area, selected much of the coastal land between Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks in 1873.

Gradually, Jordan added to his block. His property encompassed today's Palm Beach, Elanora, and Currumbin Waters.

Early European settlers

In a period between 1880 to 1890, a retired railway worker and early land speculator, William Wood, acquired 400 acres of Jordan's coastal block.

Wood had numerous properties in South East Queensland and only appears to have lived at Palm Beach towards the end of his life.

Before World War 1, a Mr John Crimp occupied a homestead and grazed cattle on Wood's property.

Travelling to Palm Beach

At the time, there was no surveyed coastal road so early travellers often forded Tallebudgera Creek and travelled past the future Palm Beach by coach or horseback.

Alternatively, they took the longer coach route through the hinterland to Murwillumbah and then to the Tweed.

The railway line linking Brisbane to the Tweed was completed by 1903.

Open surf bathing was now fashionable with young Australians and, for the first time, Brisbane people could travel with relative ease to the surf beaches of Coolangatta.

However, it was the age of the mass-produced motor car which provided both the potential and impetus for developing beach properties between Southport and Coolangatta.

Palm Beach estate

William Wood's property south of Tallebudgera Creek was purchased by the Palm Beach Company Ltd around 1921.

The first housing allotments were subdivided from Cypress Avenue to the foreshore and were available for sale after 1922.

One of the first families to build a home on the estate at 4th Avenue was the surveyor and development manager, Perc Ballard and his wife, Annie.

By 1925 there were twenty or so seaside homes on the Palm Beach estate. Potential investors and holiday makers were encouraged to stay at a boarding house (Anada) or lunch at tea rooms built by the company.

When the road bridges were constructed over the Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks in 1926, the Palm Beach Hotel, erected in the same year, was a convenient stopping place for passing motor traffic.

Word spread and many families from Brisbane, Ipswich, the Darling Downs and western districts of Queensland built their timber or fibro beach house or camped along the long sweep of beach.

Today, Palm Beach/Elanora is one of the most densely populated areas of the Gold Coast and in recent years the area has expanded to include new subdivisions, including a small section of canal development.

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


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