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Gold Coast History & Heritage

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

The Spit History

Aerial view of Marineland on The Spit, 1960s

Marineland on The Spit, 1960s

The Southport Bar

The Southport Bar before the construction of the Gold Coast
Seaway. The southern point of South Stradbroke Island is
visible on the right.

Ski Show at Sea World

The Ski Show at Sea World on the Spit circa 1980s

Marine workshop and slipway

John Humphreys Marine workshop and slipway,
The Spit, circa 1980

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 & 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 and 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.