Key to the City

Key to the City

Key to the City is a long-standing tradition recognised by cities around the world.

The presentation of a key to the city can be traced back to medieval times, when cities were often fortified by walls and locked gates. It was customary to award a key as a symbol of a city's wish that its recipient be free to come and go at will.

Key to the City has evolved into a symbolic gesture where an individual or group is honoured – either for significant contributions to a city, or for achieving excellence in their field.

The City of Gold Coast has been presenting a key to the city to esteemed residents and visitors since 1966. It is the highest honour we can award.

The Key to the City Walkway has been designed to commemorate recipients and their valuable contributions to the Gold Coast. Located in the picturesque HOTA precinct, a visit to the walkway can be enjoyed while exploring the unique architecture and stunning parklands making up the Gold Coast's cultural hub.

Requests to grant someone the Key to the City must be made in writing to either the:

The request must include a description of how that person has made a profound impact, undertaken a heroic action or attained excellence in the field of their endeavour. Recipients to be determined subject to a Council resolution.

Interactive map

Click the numbered icons for more information on each recipient.

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Recipients Award
1

Tom Parker, John Dollar, Alan Ingham, Philip Kember and Paddy Turley
1966

For bravery diffusing a German mine that washed ashore on Surfers Paradise beach on March 15, 1966. The 300kg mine was originally laid off the New South Wales coast near Newcastle by the Germans in 1941. The live mine broke its moorings and floated north in the Pacific Ocean until it washed up on Gold Coast shores 25 years later.
2

Lionel Rose
29 March 1969

For winning the World Bantamweight Boxing Championship in 1968. He went on to become the first Indigenous Australian to win a world title and be named Australian of the Year.
3

Alex Griffiths AM and Dr David Fleay AM
15 April 1989

For outstanding achievements in the areas of fauna conservation, education and care for the environment. Their passion for the great outdoors led to the establishment of two iconic Gold Coast attractions, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and David Fleay Wildlife Park.
4

Fred Lang
23 February 1990

Jointly granted by Gold Coast and Tweed councils, for service to the Twin Towns area by capturing the locality's photographic history. By photographing faces and places at the border of Queensland and New South Wales, he was able to immortalise historical events that took place where Coolangatta and Tweed Heads meet.
5

Mick Doohan AM
26 January 1997

For outstanding achievements in motorcycle road racing, including winning three successive World 500cc Motorcycle Championships. After being awarded a Key to the City, the Gold Coast local went on to win two more consecutive world 500cc events, taking out a total of five championships between 1994-1998.
6

Grant Hackett OAM
26 January 2004

For outstanding achievements as Olympic, World, Pan Pacific, Commonwealth and Australian 1500m swimming champion. His achievements in the pool have made the Gold Coast local one of the greatest distance swimmers in history.
7

City of Fort Lauderdale, USA
May 2005

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of being the Gold Coast's Sister City. In October 1980, then Mayor Keith Hunt signed the Sister City agreement between the City of Gold Coast and Fort Lauderdale.
8

Mick Fanning AO and Stephanie Gilmore
20 June 2008

For outstanding achievements in the sport of surfing. Both local, professional surfers have become world champions on the World Surf League tour – making major contributions and elevating Gold Coast surfing to the international sporting stage.
9

Lara Davenport OAM, Lyndsie Fogarty, Duncan Free OAM, Emma Snowsill OAM and Ken Wallace OAM
30 August 2008

For outstanding sporting achievements at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. All five local athletes were awarded medals at the Games for performances in the sports of swimming, kayaking, rowing and triathlon.
10

Sam Stosur
19 September 2011

For outstanding tennis achievements, including winning the 2011 US Open Women's Championship Title. She won a combined total of 40 career titles – 9 in singles, 28 in doubles, and 3 in mixed doubles - including 8 major titles.
11

Sally Pearson OAM
19 September 2011

For outstanding track and field achievements, including winning a gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2011 World Championships. After being awarded a Key to the City, the Gold Coast local went on to become 2012 London Olympic Champion and 2017 World Champion in the 100m hurdles.
12

Judith Ferber and Kerry Watson
16 October 2011

For valuable contributions to cultural development and the annual Gold Coast Eisteddfod since its inception in 1982. The eisteddfod has launched many local performing arts careers by providing opportunities and encouragement for young performers in all genres of music, dance and drama.
13

Joel Parkinson
26 January 2013

For outstanding surfing achievements, including winning his first World Surf League title in 2012. Over 12 years, he competed at an elite level on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour and won 11 elite ASP World Title Events and nine additional ASP tour events.
14

Adam Scott AM
6 November 2013

For outstanding golfing achievements, including winning the 2013 US Masters golf tournament. Soon after being awarded a Key to the City, the Gold Coast local went on to become the world number one golfer on the PGA Tour.
15

Win Schubert AO
2 June 2015

For long-term philanthropic contributions to arts and culture in our city. A businesswoman, art patron and philanthropist, her generosity and support continue to be a legacy at Home of the Arts (HOTA).
16

Dr Patrick Corrigan AM
2 June 2015

For significant, long-term philanthropic contributions to arts and culture in our city. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bond University for sustained support for and patronage of the visual arts - in particular, indigenous art.
17

John Witheriff AM
6 August 2016

For long-term contributions to local economic development, sport, tourism, leisure, transport, water supply and events. A prominent lawyer and businessman, his high-level insight and expertise has been instrumental to the success of the Gold Coast Light Rail, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, and the Gold Coast Suns AFL football club.
18

Bob Gordon
31 March 2019

For major contributions as editor-in-chief at the Gold Coast Bulletin, and on numerous local advisory boards. In particular, for his commitment to the local sport industry as founding director of the Gold Coast Suns AFL football club, and for leading our city's bid to secure the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
19

Soheil Abedian OAM
22 August 2020

For generous charitable contributions that strengthened the social fabric of our city. The Sunland Group co-founder has made a substantial, long-lasting positive impact on our community through his philanthropic efforts.

Getting here

Map iconDirections on Google Maps

135 Bundall Rd, Bundall QLD 4217

The Key to the City Walkway is located within the HOTA/Evandale Lake precinct. The parklands offer a swimming lagoon, ample picnic areas with barbecues, shaded seating and amenities. There's easy access via public transport, and parking adjacent to the walkway and surrounding parklands.