Southport is a coastal suburb and the central business district of the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and has one of the city's largest communities. At the 2016 census, Southport had a population of 31,908.[1]


Southport is located at the mouth of the Nerang River where it flows into the southernmost end of Moreton Bay.[3]


Originally known as Nerang Creek Heads,[4] it was named Southport because it was the southernmost port of the colony of Queensland.[2]

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.[5][6] In the 1880s, 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.[7] Following the death of the governor in 1888, the Summer Place continued to be a holiday home for visitors to the area.[8][9]

In 1889 the South Coast railway from Beenleigh to Southport opened. The line was closed in 1964.[10] After the arrival of the rail and prior to the construction of vehicular or pedestrian bridges across the Nerang River, a ferry service run by Johan Meyer 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.[11] 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.[12] The construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 1925 between Southport and Main Beach replaced the ferry service and facilitated further growth.[13]

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 the presence of many Southport people.[14] In 2010, renovation of the parklands required the relocation of the memorial; it was re-dedicated on 11 November 2010.[15]

A concrete 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.[13]

In 1915 163 allotments of "Pacific Ocean Estate" were advertised to be auctioned on 5 April 1915 (Easter Monday) by Newman and Dawber auctioneers. A map advertising the auction states the Estate was 2 miles from Southport Railway station, and near Southport High School.[16][17]

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.


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.

Landmarks and locations

Southport Courthouse
Gold Coast Broadwater marina with apartments in Southport

The body of water marking the eastern boundary of present-day Southport is known as the Gold Coast Broadwater. The Broadwater houses the Southport Yacht Club and a number of marinas on the southern bank of the Nerang River in an area now known as Main Beach. The area is used for fishing, boating, and watersports. Located opposite Southport on the far side of the Broadwater on The Spit, is the theme park Sea World. Although the Broadwater water is suitable for swimming, it is only six minutes from Surfers Paradise, which features high quality beaches and infrastructure including a permanent life guard station. The present day southern boundary of Southport is the Nerang River.

On the western side of the Broadwater, is the Southport Broadwater Parklands which opened in 2009 [18][19] and has undergone subsequent expansions in 2013 and 2016.[20] Within the Parklands precinct are the Southport Pier, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and the Southport War Memorial. Overlooking the Parklands is Australia Fair Shopping Centre.

Australia Fair Shopping Centre is an indoor shopping centre spreading over Scarborough Street with frontages on Nerang Street and the Gold Coast Highway. Containing 233 stores and a cinema, it was established in 1983, initially on the site of the former milk factory and entirely on the site of the former Pacific Hotel, which was built in 1878, redesigned in 1927 and demolished in 1988 to make way for the expansion of the shopping complex.[21][22]

The western end of Nerang Street in the vicinity of the intersection of Scarborough Street is also known as the Southport Mall. The re-opening of the mall (the old CBD, located adjacent to the shopping centre) to low-speed through traffic, after eight years of closure to vehicles, took place in 2000.[23]

At the top of the mall, on the south western intersection of Scarborough and Nerang Streets, is the Art Deco styled Hotel Cecil which is considered an 'important anchor' in the streetscape.[24] Opposite the hotel is a G:link station and, a few metres to the north, is the major northern bus interchange for the Gold Coast.

The City of Gold Coast Southport Branch Library is located on the Corner of Garden and Lawson Streets.[25] 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.[26] 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 memorabilia.[27]

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]

Located on Nind Street, the Sata Nita[28] building built in 1936 by Ralf Tennant Johnston, is now home to White Lady Funerals Southport. It was built as a bridal suite ahead of Ralf's marriage to his bride to be, Lila Hughes. Today it known as one of Southport’s oldest and quirkiest buildings.[29]

In April 2009, the three-tower Southport Central development was opened.[30]

In 2014, the Gold Coast City Council, in an effort to revitalise and solidify 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.[31] 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 which was originally constructed in 1876.[21]

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.[citation needed]

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.[where?] 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.[32]


Chinatown Gold Coast

Chinatown Gold Coast The $6.8 million Chinatown precinct is being developed in partnership with the community, private sector and government.[33]

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.

Health and Knowledge

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

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


The oldest private schools are St Hilda's School and The Southport School, however, there are numerous other schools located at Southport.

Southport State School caters for students Prep to Year 6.[34] The school opened on 17 February 1880.[35] Guardian Angels' Primary School is a co-educational primary school located on Edmund Rice Drive.[36] The school opened on 1 January 1901.[35] Musgrave Hill State School opened on 29 January 1963 and caters for Prep to Year 6.[35][37] Southport Special school is a co-educational school and caters for students from 5-18 Years.[38] The school opened for students on 1 January 1970.[35]

Queensland Academy for Health Sciences is a selective entry high school which caters for students from Year 10 to Year 12.[39] The Academy opened on 1 January 2008.[35] Southport State High School is located on Smith Street Motorway and was opened on 24 January 1955.[35] Enrollments are for students from Year 7 to Year 12.[40] Keebra State High School is a co-educational facility which caters for students from Year 7 to Year 12.[41] The school was opened on 30 January 1973.[35]

Community facilities

The Southport branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at 20 Young Street.[42]

The Southport Community Centre recently constructed offers a range of activities, services, classes and is located in the Southport CBD precinct.[43]

Heritage listings

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 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: [49]

Sport and recreation

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.

The 1954 Australian Grand Prix was held at Southport on 7 November,[50] using a circuit made up of public roads.[51] The circuit was 5.7 miles in length, and there were two "no-passing" sections, where the road surface was too narrow for overtaking and too expensive to widen.[50] The Grand Prix was won by Lex Davison in a HWM-Jaguar, ahead of Curly Brydon in an MG TC and Ken Richardson in a Ford V8 Special.[50] Only two more meetings were held at the track – the Queensland Racing Car Championship in October 1955, and a motorcycle meeting in the same year.[50]


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, together acting as the main transportation hub for the CBD.

Southport is also well serviced by public transport. A light rail system called G:link opened in July 2014 and ran betweenBroadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital. In December 2017 G:link was extended to Helensvale. 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.. Its intention was to operate from the previous terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station. The extension opened ahead of schedule on the 17th of December 2017, months before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.[52] 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. The Light Rail extension to Helensvale now operates integrally with the University Hospital to Broadbeach South line, with connections at Helensvale to Brisbane (Roma Street).


In the 2016 Census the population of Southport was 31,908, 51.3% female and 48.7% male. The median/average age of the Southport population is 37 years of age, 1 year below the Australian average.[1]

52.6% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were New Zealand 6.7%, China 4.1%, England 4.0%, South Korea 3.1% and Japan 1.9%. 65.9% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 4.9%, Korean 3.3%, Japanese 2.3%, Cantonese 1.1% and Arabic 0.9%. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 34.5% and Catholic 18.4%.[1]

According to the 2016 census, Southport is a populous and ethnically diverse suburb. Its communities of Filipino Australians (624 people; 2.0%), French Australians (277 people; 0.9%); Polish Australians (205 people; 0.6%); Russian Australians (190 people; 0.6%), Croatian Australians (160 people; 0.5%), and Hungarian Australians (152 people; 0.5%) are the largest of any suburb in Queensland.[53]

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Southport (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 9 December 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c Southport History Archived 2 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Gold Coast City Council. Retrieved on 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Nerang Creek Heads". The Queenslander. 16 October 1875. p. 17. Retrieved 17 January 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Melissa Townsend (22 January 2009). "Southport jetty to rekindle memories". News Limited. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  6. ^ "OPENING OF THE NEW JETTY AT SOUTHPORT". The Brisbane Courier. 30 November 1883. p. 5. Retrieved 4 June 2013 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Current News". The Queenslander. 20 October 1888. p. 693. Retrieved 17 January 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "LADIES COLUMN". The Telegraph. Brisbane. 4 June 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 17 January 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Brisbane Society". The Queenslander. 8 December 1894. p. 1101. Retrieved 17 January 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Southport Station in the Later Years Milne, Rod Australian Railway History, April 2004 pp 142–148
  11. ^ "SOUTHPORT". Queensland Country Life. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 1 December 1909. p. 16. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Southport For The Visitor. Resort". Daily Standard. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 11 November 1931. p. 8. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "SOUTHPORT WAR MEMORIAL". The Brisbane Courier. 26 April 1922. p. 8. Retrieved 6 April 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "Southport War Memorial". Monument Australia. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Pacific Ocean Estate 1915". 5 April 1915. hdl:10462/deriv/341185. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ "Pacific Ocean Estate, Southport". The Brisbane Courier (17, 840). Queensland, Australia. 20 March 1915. p. 3. Retrieved 26 November 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "Southport's new parklands". The Gold Coast Sun. 19 August 2009.
  19. ^ "Council committee backs Southport parklands master plan". ABC Regional News. 21 March 2007.
  20. ^ Potts, Andrew. "Parklands on move". The Gold Coast Bulletin.
  21. ^ a b Allom Lovell Architects. "Southport urban heritage character strategy review" (PDF). City of Gold Coast. Gold Coast City Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  22. ^ Bedward, Michael. "Pacific Hotel in 1988 photographed by Michael Bedward". City of Gold Coast Libraries. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  23. ^ Barnard, Nic (18 November 2000). "Shopping malls suffer mauling on Main Street". The Australian.
  24. ^ "Southport Urban Heritage and Character Strategy Review" (PDF). City of Gold Coast. Allom Lovell Architects and City of Gold Coast. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Southport Library". Gold Coast City Council. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Public Libraries Statistical Bulletin 2016-17" (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. November 2017. p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Local studies library". Gold Coast City Council. Archived from the original on 21 April 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  28. ^ "SATA NITA – WHITE LADY FUNERALS – Gold Coast Open House". Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Southport Funeral Directors - White Lady Funerals". Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Southport Central's rental rush hour". News Limited. 4 July 2009. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  31. ^ Potts, Andrew (12 December 2013). "Gold Coast Bulletin". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  32. ^ Toxward, Emily. "Take a journey through the Coast's shopping history". more Gold Coast. Archived from the original on 31 May 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  33. ^ "City of Gold Coast | Centre Improvement Program – Young Street and Davenport Street, Southport". Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Southport State School". Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  36. ^ "Guardian Angels' Primary School". Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  37. ^ "Musgrave Hill State School". Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  38. ^ "Southport Special School". Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  39. ^ "Queensland Academy for Health Sciences". Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  40. ^ "Southport State High School". Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Keebra Park State High School". Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Branch Locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  43. ^ "Southport Community Centre". Gold Coast City Council. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  44. ^ "Southport Bathing Pavilion (entry 601514)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  45. ^ "Southport Town Hall (former) (entry 601649)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  46. ^ "Main Beach Pavilion and Southport Surf Lifesaving Club (entry 601265)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  47. ^ "Southport Drill Hall (entry 601479)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  48. ^ "Southport State High School (entry 650034)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  49. ^ "Climate statistics for Southport". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  50. ^ a b c d Walker, Terry (1995). Fast Tracks - Australia's Motor Racing Circuits: 1904-1995. Wahroonga, NSW: Turton & Armstrong. p. 150. ISBN 0908031556.
  51. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Southport". GEL Motorsport Information Page. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  52. ^ "Stage two of Gold Coast light rail on track for Commonwealth Games". Queensland Government. 11 October 2015. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  53. ^ "2016Census_G_QLD_SSC – Census DataPacks – General Community Profile". Australian Bureau of Statistics – Census 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  54. ^ "Artistic Gymnastics | Athlete Profile: Georgia GODWIN - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games". Retrieved 15 August 2019.

External links

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