Southport, Queensland

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This article is about the Australian suburb of Southport. For other uses, see Southport (disambiguation).
Gold CoastQueensland
CSIRO ScienceImage 7482 Highrise development at Southport Queensland.jpg
The Gold Coast Broadwater commercial district
Population 28,315 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1874[2]
Postcode(s) 4215
Location 73 km (45 mi) from Brisbane
LGA(s) City of Gold Coast
State electorate(s) Southport
Federal Division(s) Moncrieff
Suburbs around Southport:
Parkwood Labrador Main Beach
Molendinar Southport Main Beach
Ashmore Bundall Surfers P'dise

Southport is a suburb and the central business district near the midpoint of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and has one of the city's largest communities. At the 2011 Census, Southport had a population of 28,315.[1]

Originally known as Nerang Creek Heads,[3] it was named Southport because it was the southernmost port of the colony of Queensland.[2] Southport is recognised as the central business district of the City of Gold Coast. 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.


In the 2011 Census the population of Southport is 28,315, 51.5% female and 48.5% male.

The median/average age of the Southport population is 36 years of age, 1 year below the Australian average.

55.2% of people living in Southport were born in Australia. The other top responses for country of birth were New Zealand 7.3%, England 4.3%, Korea, Republic of 2.9%, China 2.7%, Japan 1.7%.

69.8% of people speak English as their first language 3% Korean, 2.7% Mandarin, 2% Japanese, 1.4% Arabic, 1.1% Cantonese.


Kiosk and jetty at Southport in the early 1900s.
Bathing in 1930

A settlement was first surveyed in 1874 and the name Southport decided the following year.[2] 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.

In 1883, the first Southport Pier was built to allow steamships to bring cargo and passengers to Southport.[4][5] In the 1880s, the Southport became the chosen site for the holiday residence of the Queensland Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave and his wife Lady Musgrave. Known as the Summer Place and still situated on the present day site of The Southport School, the choice of Southport as the preferred holiday destination for one of the most prominent couples in Queensland established the township as Queensland's preeminent seaside resort.[6] Following the death of the governor in 1888, the Summer Place continued to be a holiday home for visitors to the area.[7][8]

In 1889 the South Coast railway from Beenleigh to Southport opened. The line was closed in 1964.[9] After the arrival of the rail and prior to the construction of vehicular or pedestrian bridges across the Nerang River, 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.

By 1901 Federation Southport was well established as a tourist seaside spot with numerous accommodation options and a permanent population of 1230.[10] Tourism continued to expand in the first half of the 20th century with Southport maintaining its role as a seaside resort and a popular destination for day trippers and excursionists travelling from Brisbane.[11] The construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 1925 between Southport and Main Beach replaced the ferry service and facilitated further growth.[12]

ANZAC memorial, 2011

On 25 April 1922 (ANZAC Day) Southport War Memorial located at the foot of Nerang Street was dedicated by the Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Albert, John Appel, in a presence of many Southport people.[13] In 2010, renovation of the parklands required the relocation of the memorial; it was re-dedicated on 11 November 2010.[14]

A cement jetty was built in 1914 to replace the earlier structure. 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.[12]

By the 1950s, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. It was also the administrative centre, with a central business district.

In 2013 the business area of Southport was declared a priority development area, officially creating the Gold Coast central business district.

Landmarks and locations[edit]

Southport Courthouse
Gold Coast Broadwater marina with apartments in Southport

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

The Southport Branch Library is located on the Corner of Garden and 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.[citation needed]

In April 2009, the three-tower Southport Central development was opened.[15]

in 2014, the Gold Coast City Council, in an effort to revitalise and solidify the Southport as the Central Business District for the Gold Coast, opened its own Chinatown.

The Sundale Shopping Centre, which opened on 26 March 1969, was the first of its kind on the Gold Coast costing a record $7.5 million but closed in 1989 after the larger Australia Fair Shopping Centre opened nearby. It was located on 5 hectares (12 acres) 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 Meriton Brighton on Broadwater development, a mix of high and low-rise buildings together with trendy eateries and some retail outlets. In more recent years[when?] 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 Local Studies Library.


Chinatown Gold Coast[edit]

Chinatown Gold Coast The $6.8 million Chinatown precinct is an integral part of the revitalisation of Southport as an international CBD for the Gold Coast. Chinatown is being developed in partnership with the community, private sector and government. It will offer an authentic Asian experience and create a unique destination on the light rail corridor in the heart of the CBD.

Chinatown is already encouraging Chinese and Asian tourists and fostering international relationships and investment, reinforcing the City as a destination to do business, be entertained, to live and be educated.

Chinatown will provide a sense of home for the Chinese and Asian community that permanently reside on the Gold Coast. As part of the Mayor's second home strategy, Gold Coast Chinatown will bring a sense of safety and community to the thousands of international students studying at Gold Coast universities, English language schools and colleges.

This modern Chinatown is focused on Young and Davenport Streets in Southport. It will be a place for the Gold Coast to celebrate its diversity through culture, design, people and food. Chinatown will be an exciting mix of restaurants, cultural festivals and boutique; a place of cultural indulgence and celebration.

A four metre high statue of Confucius was recently unveiled and soon, three paifangs – traditional Chinese gateways – will mark the entries to the precinct.

Gold Coast Chinatown will be true to the Gold Coast spirit and will represent our new world relationship with the Asia-Pacific region.

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Health and Knowledge[edit]

Located on the eastern edge of the suburb is home to the Gold Coast's health and knowledge precinct. Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus is home to over 18,200 students and offers student living accommodation. Griffith University is the city's largest University. Located across the road is the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH). GCUH is a large 800 bed teaching hospital that opened in 2013.

Southport General Cemetery[edit]

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

Heritage listings[edit]

Southport has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


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.


Southport experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with humid, wet summers and warm winters.

Climate data for Southport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28.5
Average low °C (°F) 20.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 175.2
Source: [20]

Sport and recreation[edit]

A number of sporting teams represent the local area, including the Southport Leagues Club, Southport Tigers, Southport Soccer Club, Southport Surf Life Saving Club and the Southport Sharks.


Southport G:link Station located in the heart of the CBD

Southport has numerous main roads that connect Southport with other suburbs. Gold Coast Highway travels the full length along the coast on the Gold Coast connecting Southport with all the coastal suburbs on the city. Smith Street Motorway is a motorway grade extension of smith street connecting the suburb to the Pacific Motorway that connects the city to Brisbane.

The Southport bus station, located next to the Southport G:link station, togahter acts as the main transportation hub for CBD.

Southport is also well serviced by public transport. A light rail system called G:link opened in July 2014 and runs from Broadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital. There are seven light rail stations in the suburb, connecting Southport with the major hubs of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. There are two major bus stations - Southport and GCUH. The Southport bus station is located in the heart of the suburb on Scarborough Street which provides regular and high frequency services to mainly the northern suburbs. GCUH bus station is situated on the western part of Southport, servicing Gold Coast University Hospital and the northern part of the Griffith University, Gold Coast campus. All services are a part of the Translink integrated fare system.

An extension to the light rail system was announced in October 2015.. It would operate from the current terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station. The extension is expected to open before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.[21] Helensvale is the suburb's nearest railway station, located 11 km from the Southport CBD. The railway line provides a connection to Brisbane city and Brisbane Airport.

Famous identities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Southport (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Southport History. Gold Coast City Council. Retrieved on 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Nerang Creek Heads.". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 16 October 1875. p. 17. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Melissa Townsend (22 January 2009). "Southport jetty to rekindle memories". (News Limited). Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "OPENING OF THE NEW JETTY AT SOUTHPORT.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 30 November 1883. p. 5. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Current News.". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 20 October 1888. p. 693. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "LADIES COLUMN.". The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 4 June 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Brisbane Society.". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 8 December 1894. p. 1101. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Southport Station in the Later Years Milne, Rod Australian Railway History, April, 2004 pp 142–148
  10. ^ "SOUTHPORT.". Queensland Country Life (Qld. : 1900 - 1954) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 1 December 1909. p. 16. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Southport For The Visitor. Resort.". Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 - 1936) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 11 November 1931. p. 8. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Longhurst, Robert (1995). Gold Coast:Our heritage in focus. South Brisbane, Queensland: State Library of Queensland. pp. 29—30. ISBN 0-7242-6563-5. 
  13. ^ "SOUTHPORT WAR MEMORIAL.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 26 April 1922. p. 8. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Southport War Memorial". Monument Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Southport Central's rental rush hour". News Limited. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Southport Bathing Pavilion (entry 601514)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Southport Town Hall (former) (entry 601649)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Main Beach Pavilion and Southport Surf Lifesaving Club (entry 601265)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Southport Drill Hall (entry 601479)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Climate statistics for Southport". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 
  21. ^ "Stage two of Gold Coast light rail on track for Commonwealth Games". Queensland Government. 11 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°58′S 153°24′E / 27.967°S 153.400°E / -27.967; 153.400