Official Launch of Gold Coast Open House 2017
Member for Broadwater, Miss Verity Barton MP; Councillors; Co-Chairs of this wonderful Gold Coast Open House initiative, Mr Follent and Mr Ewart; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to join you all, with Kaye, at the launch of the third Gold Coast Open House.
I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands around the Gold Coast, and express respect for their Elders, past and present. And it was wonderful, and highly appropriate, to join Elders Patricia O’Connor and Ted Williams in London in March for the commencement of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
Gold Coast Open House is important for many reasons. One of them is that it helps put to rest any residual impression that the Gold Coast arrived on the scene, more or less fully formed, around the 1960s.
The newness of the name ‘Gold Coast’, adopted only in the late 1950s, may be partly responsible for this impression.
But Coolangatta, for instance, was named after a ship wrecked at the southern end of the Gold Coast in 1846. The town of Nerang was first surveyed in 1865, which is also the year in which the first part of Government House in Paddington, where Kaye and I live, was completed.
Queensland’s sixth Governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, built a summer house near Southport in 1885, boosting the area’s reputation as a fashionable place for a holiday. Sir Anthony was born and raised in the West Indies, which may explain his liking for beautiful white-sand beaches.
Then there was the railway from Brisbane to Southport, completed in 1889, and later extended to Coolangatta.
Yet it is also true that the Gold Coast’s growth and development really began to accelerate from the 1920s – not the 1960s – especially after the road from Brisbane was completed in 1925.
This is the Gold Coast of charming beach pavilions, of elegant houses along the Broadwater at Southport, of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, opened in 1947, of later landmarks like the Pink Poodle, of beer gardens and beach shacks, of the first modest high-rise buildings in Surfers Paradise, and of canal estates.
While all this was happening, the Gold Coast was steadily developing its own substantial permanent population, community identity and character, and its own impressive social, sporting, cultural, transport and educational infrastructure, reflected in this expanding cultural centre.
And now the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city! To cap it all off, the City of the Gold Coast will soon be showcasing its self-confidence and community spirit to the world when it hosts only the second Commonwealth Games in Queensland’s history, in April next year.
Significant buildings and spaces are central to this history and heritage. And Gold Coast Open House 2017 gives the community a rare and exciting opportunity to see buildings related to many stages of that history.
Open House allows the community to see and understand better how the Gold Coast’s relaxed lifestyle and its relationships with its climate, with sun, sand and surf, and with the requirements of a sophisticated city, are reflected in its built environment.
There is great variety to be found in the almost 40 buildings and locations participating in this year’s Open House. They range from Southport’s first town hall, dating from 1935, to the sand bypass station at The Spit, from a university campus to a sky-high tower in Surfers Paradise, from notable private houses to facilities that will be used for the Commonwealth Games.
For this rare opportunity to gain access to important buildings and locations, we owe a large debt of gratitude to the founding partners of Gold Coast Open House – the National trust, the Australian institute of Architects, and the City of the Gold Coast.
I thank also all the community-minded building owners and management who have agreed to throw open their doors in November, the generous sponsors, and the many volunteers who are an essential part of Open House.
And it is with best wishes for the great success of this year’s event that I now have pleasure in launching Gold Coast Open House 2017. Thank you.