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Gold Coast Local History

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The Local History of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Gold Coast is a city in South East Queensland, Australia, located approximately 66 kilometers southeast of the state capital of Brisbane. The city was once a small surfing town but has now transformed into a bustling tourist destination known for its beaches, cultural attractions, and incredible natural beauty. The Gold Coast is also home to a fascinating history that spans thousands of years.

Indigenous History

Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Gold Coast was inhabited by the Yugambeh people, who were part of the wider Bundjalung Nation. The Yugambeh people had a deep connection with the land and relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering for their survival.

Indigenous people also used the Gold Coast area as a meeting place for trading and socializing. The area was rich in resources like fresh water, seafood, and wild game, making it an ideal location for gatherings.

European Settlement

The first Europeans to set foot on the Gold Coast were Dutch explorers in the late 1700s. However, it wasn't until the mid-1800s that European settlement began in earnest.

The first European settlement on the Gold Coast was established in 1840 at the site of present-day Southport. The settlement was called Nerang and was used as a base for timber-getting and farming. The population grew slowly, and by the turn of the century, there were still only a few hundred settlers in the area.

The Growth of Tourism

The Gold Coast's real transformation came with the growth of tourism in the early 1900s. In 1925, the South Coast Bulletin declared that the Gold Coast was "destined to become one of the most popular and progressive seaside resorts in Australia."

The Gold Coast's reputation as a tourist destination grew steadily throughout the 20th century, with the opening of new hotels, attractions, and theme parks. The arrival of international flights in the 1980s also helped to put the Gold Coast on the map as a global destination.

The Future of Gold Coast

The Gold Coast continues to evolve and grow, with new developments in the works that promise to make it an even more exciting place to visit and live. These include the construction of a new cruise terminal, a new $60 million art gallery, and a $2 billion resort and casino complex.

Despite its rapid development, the Gold Coast remains an important site for Indigenous people, who continue to work to preserve their heritage and culture in the area.


The history of the Gold Coast is a rich and fascinating one, spanning thousands of years and encompassing the stories of both Indigenous and European settlers. Today, the city is a thriving tourist destination that continues to evolve and grow, but also acknowledges and celebrates its past.

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