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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.

The Spit history

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Click to enlarge Seafood being boxed at The Spit, 1970. Bob Avery, photographer.

Seafood being boxed at The Spit,
1970. Bob Avery, photographer.

International visitors at Marineland, May 1972. Bob Avery, photographer.

International visitors at Marineland,
May 1972. Bob Avery, photographer.

The origins of The Spit date back to the years 1897-1898 when a series of gales and high seas finally broke through a narrow stretch of land called Jumpinpin on Stradbroke Island.

The breakthrough created a new sea passage into Moreton Bay. Stradbroke Island was divided in two (North and South), changing the ebb and flow of tides through the southern reaches of Moreton Bay.

The impact on Southport's environment was remarkable. Southport's rocky foreshore had previously been exposed to open seas.

After the breakthrough, tidal action eroded sand from the southern tip of South Stradbroke resulting eventually in the surveyed township site of Moondarewa disappearing entirely by the 1940s.

Meanwhile, a low sand spit developed to the north of Main Beach Point. This permanent sand isthmus continued to edge across the mouth of the Nerang River until the construction of the Gold Coast Seaway in 1987.

As The Spit developed into a permanent landform, there was a demand for private leasehold title of land and applications for dredging rights for mineral sands there.

The Broadwater area, once open ocean, was now a relatively placid waterway offering a calm water harbour for vessels and boating.

By 1952, the Southport Yacht Club and John Humphrey's engineering work shop and slip way on The Spit attracted an ever increasing number of private boats to the Yacht Basin. and the eastern side of the Broadwater.

Since the 1950s and '60s, in the heyday of the local prawning industry, the Southport trawler fleet have used the The Spit for their berth.

Marineland, one of the first tourist attractions on The Spit, opened in the 1960s and foreshadowed future resort developments and theme parks which are now such a feature of the area.

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

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