Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Surfers Paradise is a beach resort town on Australia's Gold Coast in Queensland, noted for its many high-rise hotels. Because it is located on the east coast and the hotels overlook the beach, most of the beach falls into shadow after noon. The central feature of the Surfers Paradise CBD is the Cavill Mall, which runs through the centre of the main shopping precinct, directly to the beach.
Surfers Paradise takes its name from a 16 bedroom beach front hotel run by a man named James 'Jim' Cavill. In the mid 1920's, Surfers Paradise was a sleepy little seaside town called Elston. The name Elston was bestowed upon the area by Mr Palmer, the Postmaster, in nearby Southport. He decided to call the receiving office near the surf beach after his wife's home village in Nottingham, England.
Elston began to gain in popularity following the opening of the Jubilee Bridge in 1925 and the extension of the South Coast Road. Suddenly, Elson was no longer cut off by the Nerang River and speculators began buying up land around the villages of Elston, and Burleigh Heads. Estates with names like Ocean Wave, Northcliffe, Mermaid Beach and Miami Shores were sold as sure fire investments and of course, investors needed a place to stay.
Located on the white surf beach, just off the South Coast Road, the Surfers Paradise hotel became a popular spot. Jim Cavill, with his keen eye for promotion and supported by the locals, lobbied hard to have the name Elson changed to the much more glamorous Surfers Paradise. In 1933 his lobbying paid off.
To many people, the image of Surfers Paradise is synonymous with the Gold Coast. The early subdivision of Elston became the centre of development activity within the coastal strip from 1925 when James Cavill opened the Surfers Paradise Hotel. The area was serviced until that time by Meyer's Ferry at the Nerang River but the construction of the Jubilee Bridge in that year and the new hotel set the seal on Surfers Paradise as the centre of developmental activity. The town acquired its name of Surfers Paradise on the 1st of December, 1930, in a bid to attract more tourism.
The boom of the 1950s and 1960s was largely centred on this area and the first and earliest of the tall apartment buildings that now characterise the area were constructed in the decades that followed. Little remains of the early vegetation or natural features of the area and even the historical association of the beachfront development with the river is tenuous. The early subdivision pattern remains although later reclamation of the islands in the Nerang River as housing estates and the bridges to those islands has created a contrast reflected in subdivision and building form. Some early remnants survived such as Budd's Beach - a low scale open area on the river which was even in the early history of the area was a centre for boating, fishing and still water swimming.
Some minor changes have occurred in extending the road along the beachfront since the early subdivision and the esplanade is now very much a focus of activity in this part of the Gold Coast. Promenading and people watching takes place in this area where land use encourages not only residential activity but tourism with supporting shops and restaurants. The intensity of activity, centred on Cavill, Orchid and Elkhorn Avenues is reflected in the density of building development. Of all places on the Gold Coast the buildings in this area constitute a dominant and enduring image visible from many vantage points in the city from as far south as Burliegh Heads as well as from the mountain resorts of the hinterland and beyond.
In the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the "paradise" that the refugees hoped to reach is none other than Surfers Paradise.
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