Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

The Simple, Golden Days of the Coast; Tweed Historian Di Millar Recalls the Days of Wine and Roses Inthe Twin Towns

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

The Simple, Golden Days of the Coast; Tweed Historian Di Millar Recalls the Days of Wine and Roses Inthe Twin Towns

Article excerpt

Forty - or fifty - years ago the Twin Towns during holiday time experienced a mushroom-like explosion of canvas as families pitched their tents at the camping sites around Kirra, Coolangatta, Rainbow Bay and Tweed Heads.

Caravan parks were packed and motels, holiday units and guesthouses were filled to overflowing.

The Christmas holiday period was the most popular time for families to enjoy the sun, surf and local entertainment on offer.

Many families made a Christmas trip to the coast an annual event and had a regular accommodation booking or camping spot that was carried on for more than one generation.

Coolangatta and Tweed Heads were festooned with Christmas bunting and colourful lights were strung along their esplanades.

Large Norfolk pines and Moreton Bay fig trees lined the esplanade along Wharf Street, Tweed Heads and on the other side flowed the shallow Back Channel waterway, a remnant from the days when Tweed Heads was a port for sailing ships and small steamers.

This esplanade came alive at Christmas to the sound of laughter and childish screams when sideshow operators set up their colourful carnival and plied their trade.

The dodgem cars were always the most popular attraction. The young and not so young showed off their skills behind the wheel and took on all comers in a game of bump and bash.

Merry-go-round rides satisfied the tiny tots while older children enjoyed a ride on the Ferris wheel. Patrons dropped balls in clown's mouths, knocked over a pyramid of tins, took aim at coconuts or shot down a line of moving ducks in an effort to win a prize. Large fluffy toys in garish colours were carried off triumphantly by those who successfully hit their targets.

Local service groups and volunteer organisations took advantage of the holiday crowds and set up their own forms of entertainment on the esplanade.

The Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade operated a housie-housie (bingo) tent and numbered tin squares were marked with corn kernels by patrons in the hope of winning a small cash prize for a line or full house.

The chocolate wheel, lucky envelope and "Pick-a-box" stalls also tempted patrons to outlay their money.

These stalls were always well supported by the public because they trusted their money to go to worthy causes in the towns.

Over the Christmas break hordes of hungry holidaymakers descended upon the town's cafes, milk bars and restaurants.

Popular among these were Kev's Diner, Obanson's milk bar and the Tuckerbox Restaurant in Griffith Street, Coolangatta, Sand's Cafe on the corner of Bay and Wharf Street, Tweed Heads and Elsie Gill's Kelvin Court Dinette on the corner of Stuart and Bay Streets, Tweed Heads.

Bay Street even boasted a night-spot restaurant called The Inferno that opened in 1960 and held two floor shows nightly. …

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