Coolum Beach, Queensland

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Coolum Beach
Sunshine CoastQueensland
Sunshine coast 02.jpg
Coolum Beach, looking north
Population 7,905 (2011 Census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4573
Location 119 km (74 mi) from Brisbane
LGA(s) Sunshine Coast
State electorate(s) Maroochydore
Federal Division(s) Fairfax
Suburbs around Coolum Beach:
Peregian Springs Peregian Beach Pacific Ocean
Yandina Creek Coolum Beach Pacific Ocean
Marcoola Yaroomba Pacific Ocean

Coolum Beach is a beachside town on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and is also the beach around which the town is based. Coolum hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2002, replacing the 2001 meeting that was postponed and moved from Brisbane in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The name is derived from the local Undumbi word gulum or guloom, meaning "blunt" or "headless", referring to the shape of Mount Coolum, which has no peak. [2]

Mount Coolum dominates the landscape, and can be seen from most of Coolum. A half hour bush walk winds its way up Mount Coolum.

Coolum State High School is located in the town.

Commercial area[edit]

Coolum Beach is a popular day trip and holiday destination. The town is focused around the beach which is patrolled by life savers and offers swimming and surfing, in its day it is known as one of the best breaks in Queensland.[citation needed] Parks, a boardwalk, esplanade shops, and the surf life saver club surround the beach. Over the last five years Coolum Beach has seen heavy development, with new buildings for retail business and holiday apartments. It is popular with day trippers from Brisbane and is very popular for tourists visiting the Sunshine Coast. In "An Island Surrounded by Land",the white settlement of Coolum is described by Windolf and Windolf (2004),as having occurred, unconnected by road to Maroochydore and Noosa. This gives Coolum, to this day, the friendly feeling of a country town, even though it forms part of an urban strip called the Sunshine Coast. Perhaps the aboriginal history of Coolum endures only in the place names and in the brooding presence of Mount Coolum. Settlement in the 1950s and 60's was often by working class Brisbane families who first built holiday cottages. Lifestylers joined the mix in the 1970s. This influx confirmed the tolerant society that Coolum had become. Coolum Beach is still a "live and let live" society, with no identifiable ruling group. Whilst Queensland voted conservatively throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's, Coolum Beach has always voted Labor. It is an island in this respect, too. A lack of a leadership group has left Coolum Beach vulnerable to scheisters or bad government decisions. The town always survives. This may be because the sea wind and one of Queensland's best ocean beaches blows away all cares.


The origin of the name Coolum appears to be derived from the Aboriginal word 'gulum' or 'kulum' meaning 'blunt' or 'headless'. This is assumed to refer to the shape of Mount Coolum, which has no peak. According to Aboriginal legend, Ninderry knocked off Coolum's head and it fell into the ocean and is now Mudjimba Island.

The Coolum district was the traditional land of the Inabara or Yinneburra clan of the Undanbi Tribe. In turn, they were part of the larger group of the Kabi Kabi.

In 1823, the first Europeans to pass through Coolum were castaways and shipwrecked sailors. The first land selection in Coolum was made in 1871 by Grainger Ward - a pastoral lease of 255 hectares. Here, Ward ran upwards of 300 head of cattle. In 1881, Mark Blasdall selected his own lease of 252 hectares. Blasdall was the first to plan sugarcane in the area and to cut timber. He built two huts and a sawmill as well as clearing Coolum Creek, thus enabling steampships to enter to load timber and deliver supplies. By 1882 the steampships 'Tadorna Radjah' and 'Gneering' began to regularly travel from Brisbane to Coolum creek. In 1883 the first Coolum land was freehold and by 1884, Blasdall was declared insolvent and his land freeholded.

The first permanent settler of Coolum was William Perry-Keene and his family in 1905. His home was called 'Green Hills' and was situated at the corner of Beach Road, Daytona and Key West Avenues. Between 1906 and 1912 many people settled permanently in the region. By 1912 there were eight to 12 families living in the district. In 1909, Coulsin established a mailboat service on the Maroochy River. This provided the first regular connection between Coolum and the railhead at Yandina. In 1911, a horse-drawn tramline and punt loading facilities were built at Coolum Creek.

Construction of the first trafficable road to Coolum was undertaken between 1922 and 1925. This provided vehicle access from Coolum to Yandina. In 1923, the tramline to Coolum was opened and unscheduled passenger services began. Over this time considerable expansion of the sugarcane industry took place. Cane farming provided the main source of financial stability in the district until the advent of tourism in the 1960s.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wells, Robin A. (2003). In the Tracks of a Rainbow: Indigenous Culture and Legends of the Sunshine Coast. Gullirae Books. ISBN 0-9580854-0-4. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°31′58″S 153°04′08″E / 26.5327389°S 153.0689226°E / -26.5327389; 153.0689226

2. An Island Surrounded by Land; Windolf & Windolf, Zusammen Books, 2004