The Gold Coast Skyline in the 1960s

Gold Coast 1960'sGold Coast 2018

It is fascinating to take a look back at the Gold Coast, to see just how much and how high it has grown (see images below from Broadbeach – Southport).  The 1960s Gold Coast skyline boasted only a few high rises with the largest being either ‘Kinkabool’ (#21 on aerial) or ‘The Sands’ (#27 on aerial) standing a mere 11 storeys high.  Both buildings are still around today. We asked our founding partner, Mr Ted Bennett for a surveyor’s perspective of just what it was like in those times preceding the establishment of Bennett + Bennett.  You will note that there was little development west of the Gold Coast Highway in Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach at that time, apart from a number of canal developments.

When asked what was the first ‘real’ high rise – over 20 storeys in height, Ted Bennett recalled the ‘Condor’ building as one of the early bigger structures (location is shown as #29 on the Surfers Paradise South 1966 aerial) and construction began in late 1972, with completion in 1975. The marketing at the time promoting it as a ‘soaring building’, just like a Condor bird. It was a Gold Coast landmark and Ted had some interesting stories about the building, its Penthouse, and the uniqueness of the marina. Hear Ted’s comments on the short video attached.

Through the early 1970’s, progress was strong with a land boom up until 1974. Cambridge Credit was a major land developer and they would joint venture a lot of subdivisions with others.  Their endeavours collapsed in late 1974 and consequently the market slowed heavily through the rest of the 1970’s  In fact, there were no new buildings at all until the late 1970’s when construction started to come back and the early 1980’s was a strong period.

Around that time, Ted Bennett recalled that there were about 40 cranes in the Gold Coast skyline from Southport through to Burleigh Heads. To give that some perspective, the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Report of October 2019 (5 months ago), recorded just 29 Cranes in the Gold Coast skyline, indicating the level of growth at the time.

One image stands out considerably on the Main Beach 1966 aerial, and that is the ‘Jubilee’ Bridge which was built in 1925 and pulled down in 1966. As Greg Short said ‘looks like a good spot for a bridge now actually’, except of course with the Gold Coast Highway/ Queen Street intersection. Interestingly, the Sundale Bridge was built in 1966 (same year) to replace the Jubilee Bridge and provided a more North-South alignment.

Bennett + Bennett’s impact on the Gold Coast Skyline

With its long sandy beaches, the Gold Coast has long been a desirable location to live or visit. And while the surf and lifestyle have remained constant, the skyline of 2020 is remarkably different to that which we showcased from the 1960’s. With the growth of Bennett + Bennett since it’s inception 50+ years ago, their has been significant contribution to what we see when we look up to the Gold Coast Skyline today.

The aerial highlights the major building projects that Bennett + Bennett have been involved in, conducting either the survey set out for the construction works or the titling works or a combination of both. The aerial’s really display how much the city has grown in that time. If it weren’t for the iconic beaches, you could be forgiven for thinking it was even a different city.

Comparing the aerial mark ups of today (year 2020) with the mark-ups of the 1960’s, the difference is obviously remarkable.
Both our founding partner, Ted Bennett and Director and former MD, Greg Short provided some comment on the considerable change to the Gold Coast landscape during an interview earlier this month (check out the video to your right).

Bennett + Bennett are proud of their Gold coast heritage and our role in the city’s development, so we sent out these marked up aerial images of the Gold Coast to some of the Gold Coast Development Industry Leaders and asked them how they viewed the amazing changes to the skyline in that 50+ years and their thoughts on Bennett + Bennett’s involvement in those changes?

David Ransom: (Zone Planning Group) Director
The photos show how the Gold Coast has always been home to entrepreneurs who have sought to build a City which is unique in Australia, and now has one of the best lifestyles in the world. The acceptance of residents and holidaymakers to live in vertical towers has led to Queensland and specifically the Gold Coast being innovators regarding community title development. The system we have evolved is regarded as one of the best in the world and is emulated in other jurisdictions. Bennett + Bennett have played a large part in that innovation having been involved in a wide range of projects over a long period of time.     

Kevin Gogolka: (Multiplex) Senior Development Manager
“The meteoric rise of the Gold Coast” – over the past 50 + years the Gold Coast has grown into a dynamic city now ranked 6th largest in Australia. Bennett + Bennett Surveying has played a key role as evident by the number of major developments shown in the skyline images.

Matthew Schneider: (Urbis/ Chair GC PCA committee) Director
The Gold Coast turned sixty years old last year and is still the most exciting city in Australia to work in. There is simply no better city in this country in which to have an idea, and make that idea a reality. Bennett + Bennett have been hugely influential in helping generations of Gold Coasters bring their forward-thinking ideas to life and to help build this incredible city

Tania Moore (Knight Frank) Partner, Joint Head of Gold Coast
Seeing the side by side images of the city’s transformation across the region is extraordinary and really demonstrates the vision and entrepreneurial flair of the property development industry to deliver the infrastructure required to create the Gold Coast city as we know it today.   Developers with passion & vision seek the support and trust of experts in their respective fields in order to deliver products that will stand the test of time in this coastal environment and I believe Bennett + Bennett should be extremely proud being recognised as a trusted advisor to a wide range of projects and client base on the Gold Coast.

Joe Welch: (Hickey Lawyers) Partner
The pace of development has been remarkable for a regional centre. Hickey Lawyers has been along for the ride with Bennett + Bennett since the late 1990s.  At Hickeys, we see each of those developments as a partnership between the client and all the consultants. Bennett + Bennett have been the critical partnership for us on many of those projects. We can trust the standard of professionalism from every staff member. That comes from a great culture of client service and problem solving.   

Alan Buckle: (Independent Strata/BC Consultant)
I can not see the dramatic change in the Skyline occurring without these elements:- Remarkable feats in site acquisition and construction; Titling laws to offer security for lenders; Responsible Sales legislation; and Purchaser demand and discerning taste for innovative architecture and facilities. But let’s not forget the ingredient that binds it all together, the people – these are the good eggs (as it were). Developers, builders, property consultants, property managers and the lot owners, all have made the Gold Coast, a sought-after paradise. Bennett + Bennett has been a constant and significant contributor to bring about this dramatic change in our Skyline.

David Brown: (Sunland Group) Executive Development Manager, Special Projects
The Gold Coast brings together a wonderful coastal living environment and temperate climate that encourages an active outdoor lifestyle. The high rise developments over the last 50 years have celebrated the unique opportunity of living by the ocean and waterways, and their form and scale are very much a part of the DNA of the Gold Coast. Sunland has endeavoured to raise the design bar in recognising these projects are the architecture of art for our City. Bennett + Bennett have facilitated not only some of the most complex projects over that time, but have also provided strong guidance on large scale master planning projects such as “The Lakes”.

Levi Corby: (Hutchinson Builders) Gold Coast Manager
We live in one of the most enviable places on the planet, it is understandable why our Skyline is ever changing. Hutchies love contributing to the progress and growth of the Coast, we provide homes for hundreds of people every year. Hutchies and Bennett + Bennett are part of a lucky few who have grown with the Coast, whilst the photos truly show the change we’ve seen, they also prove the amount of opportunity our beloved coast still has!

Raith Anderson: (DBI Design) Managing Director
Looking at these early photos, it’s clear that the vision for the Gold Coast was well and truly set by the mid 1960’s. Bennett + Bennett and DBI as industry leaders have been fortunate to witness and contribute to many of the city building projects along a stretch of coastline that is unique within Australia, and uniquely Gold Coast. It is a city that has matured from being just about beaches and tourism, into a dynamic must see international destination with a buzzing café/restaurant scene, a growing cultural arts hub, new emerging industries such as health, sport and education, and yet still remains extremely family orientated. When you see a photograph of a highrise skyline against an amazing beach setting, it’s instantly recognisable as The Gold Coast.

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PART 3 - A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF THE GOLD COAST - 2070
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