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In 1967, Lae Enterprises, a company formed by real estate developer, Neil McCowan, purchased 182 hectares of tidal wetland adjacent to the Southport Broadwater.
Work had begun on the canal subdivision in December 1972 when Burns Philp Finance acquired a 50 per cent holding in the property.
Neil McCowan and advertising agent, John Garnsey, are credited with creating the name Runaway Bay, promoting the area as a tranquil escape.
Residents enjoyed canal frontages and modern amenities such as a regional shopping centre and hotel.
Information and images provided by the City of Gold Coast Local Studies Collection.