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The Spit history

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Click to enlarge Seafood being boxed at The Spit, 1970. Bob Avery, photographer.

Seafood being boxed at The Spit,
1970. Bob Avery, photographer.

International visitors at Marineland, May 1972. Bob Avery, photographer.

International visitors at Marineland,
May 1972. Bob Avery, photographer.

The origins of The Spit date back to the years 1897-1898. During this time, a series of gales and high seas finally broke through a narrow stretch of land on Stradbroke Island called Jumpinpin.

The breakthrough created a new sea passage into Moreton Bay. Stradbroke Island separated into two (North and South). This changed the ebb and flow of tides through the southern reaches of Moreton Bay.

The impact on Southport's environment was remarkable. Southport's rocky foreshore had previously been exposed to open seas.

After the breakthrough, tidal action eroded sand from the southern tip of South Stradbroke. This resulted in the surveyed township site of Moondarewa disappearing entirely by the 1940s.

Meanwhile, a low sand spit developed to the north of Main Beach Point. This permanent sand isthmus continued to edge across the mouth of the Nerang River. This stopped following the construction of the Gold Coast Seaway in 1987.

The Spit developed into a permanent land form. This caused a demand for private leasehold title of land and applications for dredging rights for mineral sands there.

The Broadwater area became a relatively placid waterway offering a calm water harbour for vessels and boating.

By 1952, the Southport Yacht Club and John Humphrey's engineering work shop and slip way on The Spit attracted an ever increasing number of private boats. They came to the Yacht Basin and the eastern side of the Broadwater.

The Southport trawler fleet have used The Spit for their berth since the 1950s.

Marineland, one of the first tourist attractions on The Spit, opened in the 1960s. This opening prompted future resort developments and theme parks, now such a feature of the area.

Information and images provided by the City of Gold Coast Local Studies Collection.

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