The Gold Coast Broadwater at dawn
|Location||73 km (45 mi) from Brisbane|
|LGA(s)||Gold Coast City|
Southport is a suburb and the central business district near the midpoint of the Gold Coast, Australia and has one of the city's largest communities. At the 2011 Census, Southport had a population of 28,315.
Originally known as Nerang Creek Heads it was named Southport because it was the southernmost port of the colony of Queensland. Southport is recognised as the central business district of the Gold Coast City. It has the city's largest area of office space at 103,818 m². In the past, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. In current times it is set apart from the normal tourist hub of the Gold Coast. However, it has still experienced tourist-driven development and extraordinary growth. Southport has 18 high-rise towers either completed, under construction or awaiting commencement.
A settlement was first surveyed in 1874 and the name Southport decided the following year. Southport was once the site of timber mills. A port was established to ship logs to Brisbane. Cutting timber opened up the area for settlement. Early rural industries included sugar growing and livestock grazing.
By 1901 Federation Southport had become a tourist seaside spot and had a permanent population of 1230. The South Coast railway from Beenleigh to Southport opened in 1889 and closed in 1964. A ferry service - the Myer's Ferry connection – ferried passengers to Main Beach, Queensland and a horse and buggy service linked the area to Surfers Paradise. Tourism continued to expand in the first half of the 20th century. The construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 1925 between Southport and Main Beach replaced the ferry service and facilitated further growth. A cement jetty was built in 1914 at Southport. In 1927, the Pier Theatre which included a cafe and indoor golf course was built on the jetty. A fire destroyed the structure in 1932 but it was rebuilt and open to the public for nearly forty years. By the 1950s, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. It was also the administrative centre, with a central business district.
The area of coast facing Southport is known as the Broadwater. The Broadwater houses the Southport Yacht Club and a number of marinas. The area is used for fishing, boating, and watersports. It is fronted by park lands which are a popular area with locals. Located opposite Southport on the Broadwater is the theme park Sea World. Although the Broadwater water is suitable for swimming, it is only 6 minutes from Surfers Paradise which features high quality beaches and infrastructure including a permanent life guard station. Southport is also bordered by the Nerang River.
Australia Fair Shopping Centre, located in the old Southport CBD, is a large indoor shopping centre containing 233 stores and a Senstadium Cinema. It was established in 1983 on the site of the former milk factory and is home to the major northern bus interchange for the Gold Coast. The opening of the Southport strip mall (the old CBD, located adjacent to the shopping centre) to low-speed through traffic has been a controversial local decision.
The Gold Coast Hospital, the only public-only hospital on the Gold Coast, is located in Southport. The surrounding area has been substantially redeveloped, and now includes a number of private medical practices. In 2005, Griffith University commenced teaching dentistry and medicine at a new building on land adjacent to Gold Coast Hospital. The state government has announced that a new Gold Coast Hospital will be constructed opposite the main Griffith University campus at Parklands. Plans for the existing hospital site are not yet clear, but general speculation is that it will become a private hospital.
The Southport Branch Library is located on the Corner of Garden & Lawson Streets. It was previously located on the top floor of the Australia Fair Shopping Centre. The Southport Branch Library was completed in 2002 and is one of 14 branches of the City's library. Upstairs in the same building is the Local Studies library which includes the City's historical collection of materials including documents, photographs, films, advertising and iconic objects and memorabilia.
St Hilda's School, which was founded in 1911, is located opposite the Hospital and is the only all-girls school on the Gold Coast. Southport is home to The Southport School, which was once the largest boarding school in Queensland. The School was founded in 1901 and has a well-known clock tower and chapel. It is also one of the few schools in Australia where cadet service is mandatory.
Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is located on Marine Parade adjacent to Southport Broadwater. It has a 50 metre Olympic pool with diving towers, 33 and 25 metre pools and a 15 metre indoor teaching pool. These pools are heated. There is a children's aquatic playground which includes a wading pool.
Southport Broadwater Parklands
There is a major park located along the shore of the Southport Broadwater. The state government has allocated A$16M with matched funding from Gold Coast City Council (over $32 million in total), to invest into the parklands. The works will include building a pier along the Southport Mall alignment. The park will be known as Broadwater Park.
The Sundale Shopping Centre, which opened on 26 March 1969, was the first of its kind on the Gold Coast costing a record $7.5M but closed in 1989 after the larger Australia Fair Shopping Centre opened nearby. It was located on 12 acres (49,000 m2) of prime real estate facing the Broadwater which was previously the site of the popular Southport Hotel. As well as providing panoramic views of the Nerang River from the upper floor, it was home to Queensland's first Big W department store as well as a cinema, restaurants, 45 speciality stores and a 7,000 vehicle car park. It was proposed as a location for the building of the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Such a development would have rejuvenated the old administrative centre of the Gold Coast. However, it lost its bid to Broadbeach, in part because of a lack of tourist accommodation in Southport. The site hosted weekly markets throughout the 1990s for several years after its closure, until its eventual demolition in 2003, at which time a time capsule was buried where the popular mall once stood. The area is now home to the Brighton on Broadwater development, a mix of high and low rise buildings together with trendy eateries and some retail outlets. In more recent years another a time capsule was discovered on the Sundale site which was buried when the mall was originally constructed. It was originally meant to be opened in the 2000s and was filled with notes and items which were meant to predict what the 21st century would be like. It is now located in the Gold Coast City Council chambers.
Southport General Cemetery
The 4.2 hectare Southport General Cemetery was gazetted on 16 July 1880. It is controlled by Gold Coast City Council as trustee. The cemetery is located on Queen Street which was the original route to Southport. This route led to the earliest wharf at Broadwater. Lantern Ghost Tours Gold Coast run historical night tours weekly through the Southport General Cemetery
Southport has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Marine Parade: Southport Bathing Pavilion
- Nerang Street: Southport Town Hall (former)
- off Macarthur Parade: Main Beach Pavilion and Southport Surf Lifesaving Club
- 210 Queen Street: Southport Drill Hall
Health and Knowledge Precinct
Southport is home to the Gold Coast's Heath and Knowledge Precinct that includes Griffith University (Gold Coast campus), Queensland Academy for Health Sciences and the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Habitats for native mammals include large trees with or without hollows, fallen logs, leaf litter and understorey vegetation. These provide food, shelter and places for breeding. Southport is a lovely place for picnics, riverside walks and birdwatching in the Broadwater Parklands.
|Climate data for Southport|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.5
|Average low °C (°F)||20.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||175.2
Sport and recreation
The Gold Coast Highway passes through the suburb. The Broadwaterway is a foreshoreway that encourages pedestrians and cyclists to travel along the Broadwater foreshores of Southport. A ferry terminal is planned for a new pier to be constructed along the Southport Mall alignment. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit is underway and Stage One is expected to be completed by 2014. Operating 14 trams, the 13 km light rail service will connect the new Gold Coast University Hospital and Griffith University to Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, running through Southport.
- Grant Hackett, swimmer
- Nick Riewoldt, Australian rules footballer with St Kilda.
- Casey Stoner, motorcycle racer, 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion
- David Dodd, footballer who played for Brisbane Roar
- Tommy Oar, footballer playing for FC Utrecht
- James O'Connor (rugby), Rugby Union, Wallabies
- Mitch Nichols, footballer for Melbourne Victory in the A-League
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Southport (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Southport History. Gold Coast City Council. Retrieved on 17 January 2013.
- Southport Station in the Later Years Milne, Rod Australian Railway History, April, 2004 pp 142–148
- Longhurst, Robert (1995). Gold Coast:Our heritage in focus. South Brisbane, Queensland: State Library of Queensland. pp. 29—30. ISBN 0-7242-6563-5.
- "Southport Central's rental rush hour". goldcoast.com.au. News Limited. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Southport Bathing Pavilion (entry 16277)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- "Southport Town Hall (former) (entry 16410)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- "Main Beach Pavilion and Southport Surf Lifesaving Club (entry 16028)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- "Southport Drill Hall (entry 16242)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- "Climate statistics for Southport". Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
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