It is 50 years ago today that Queensland’s “Sunshine Coast” name officially came into being. Until then, the region was known as the “Near North Coast”, reflecting its proximity to Brisbane.
However, with the region’s rapid growth in population and tourism, the Maroochydore, Noosa and Landsborough shires all voted to adopt the name “Sunshine Coast”, which came into effect on 1 August, 1967.
The origin of the name was fairly simple, best summed up by a tourism official at the time, Mr R.M. O’Loughlin, who remarked that: “This area had something that could not be bought for gold: that was glorious sunshine”.
Today, the Sunshine Coast is not only Queensland’s fastest growing tourism destination, it is one of the 10 biggest “cities” in Australia with almost 300,000 people calling it home.
Just over one hour’s drive north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast encompasses an area stretching from Caloundra and the distinctive Glass House Mountains in the south, to the Hinterland and Mary Valley in the west, to Noosa and Rainbow Beach in the north.
The region has its own university and the Sunshine Coast Airport was recently designated an international airport, with a major extension and upgrade underway to enable the airport to attract an even wider range of domestic and international flights.
The Sunshine Coast will celebrate the 50th anniversary with a series of special events over the next five months. They include concerts, the largest ever Horizons Arts Festival, a poetry trail, sand sculpture festival and a special commemorative exhibition retracing the region’s development.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson said: “This anniversary milestone also allows us the opportunity to celebrate the region’s unique identity and to showcase the past, present and future.
“The exciting program of events, which will be held from August to December, will appeal to a broad range of ages and interests.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, said that it was remarkable to look back and see how the region had developed as one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations.
“The Sunshine Coast has always concentrated on showcasing its diversity: we are far more than just Sunshine and Coast, with our distinctive natural attractions, such as the Hinterland and Glass House Mountains, complementing our beautiful coastal attractions,” he said.
“And we are constantly innovating. The new airport, plans for major new hotels and tourism attractions, blueprints for new town centres, massive expansion of our ‘agri-tourism’ sector and world-class tourism activities such as Swimming with Whales highlight our continuing commitment to offering fresh reasons to return.
“We invite the whole of Australia and the rest of the world to join us in the celebrations. Everyone is welcome.”