Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Southport Pier's Walk with the Past

On first look, you wouldn't think that the Southport Pier has had a long history. The structure glistens in white with its modern design. Not a lot of people seem to be using it too.

And it isn't a hub of activity. But once upon a time, it was. The past was in fact a more colorful era.

Southport was, in its early days, a holiday destination as it is now. The earliest piers were practical, private structures for hotel guests to embark and depart from, and for receiving stores and supplies. Before the arrival of the railway in 1889, most visitors to Southport arrived by boat.

In 1880, a deputation unsuccessfully lobbied at the Queensland Government for a public jetty. The businessmen decided to pool funds, and three years later (1883), private funds became available to finance construction. It was 800 feet long, with a single handrail and a tramway on the side, a waiting room and a shed for the transported goods. The Southport Provisional Board leased the jetty for 110 pounds a year.

The pier became a fulcrum of activity. A roller skating rink was constructed in its vicinity, and there were concerts and dancing held regularly. Weekend had bands playing for dating couples. A portion of the shore had enclosed baths with special lights for night swimming.

In 1926, the first picture theatre was built on the pier. Unfortunately, fire gutted the theatre. In 1932, this was rebuilt. By 1959, time had already caught up with the pier as it was already in a state of disrepair. Funding was nowhere in sight. In 1969, they had to demolish the pier and the theatre.

2009 saw the rebuilding of the Southport Pier. This time, it was 105 meters long and was built to last. It was also designed to align with the historic Nerang Street westward which, these days look particularly mediocre.

These days, the pier is mostly deserted on a weekday. Most revelers prefer the youthful vibe of Surfer's Paradise. But this makes Southport a haven of tranquility. I prefer it here.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Walk straight ahead to the west and reach Nerang Street.

800 feet long with a single handrail.


Ola said...

nice to walk there and have such views!

eye in the sky said...

Thanks, Ola. It is a great place for a relaxing stroll. :)