Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Tragic Beginning Part of Kirra Pavilion's Colourful History; Historian DI MILLAR Examines the Changing Face of Kirra Beach Surf Pavilion

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Tragic Beginning Part of Kirra Pavilion's Colourful History; Historian DI MILLAR Examines the Changing Face of Kirra Beach Surf Pavilion

Article excerpt

Byline: DI MILLAR

THESE days holidaying families get a bite to eat at the Kirra Beach Surf Pavilion, where a section operates as a Pizza Hut outlet. Now it's hard to remember that the old building is the last in a line of surf pavilions erected as a result of the loss of a man's life.

The drowning occurred on January 6, 1916, when Robert Doran from the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly, and a companion who was saved, went for a swim at the unpatrolled Kirra Beach.

Doran's drowning caused a public outcry and the next day an open meeting was convened by Coolangatta Town Council Mayor John Lanham.

At the meeting, the community banded together to form a surf life saving club with members undertaking beach patrols in an effort to prevent anyone else losing their life.

The first Kirra Life Saving clubhouse measured 12 feet by 20 feet and was erected at Kirra Point by a group of public-spirited people in their spare time.

Another clubhouse was built in the 1920s at a cost of about 300 pounds and as Kirra Beach grew in popularity, further extensions were carried out.

By 1927 a dance floor was in operation and it ran the entire length of the top of the three-storey building.

A few years later the clubhouse was almost washed away.

Finally the day came when, with the aid of State Government funding, the present Kirra Beach Surf Pavilion, costing 7500 pounds to construct, was opened amid great fanfare.

On Monday, April 13, 1936, Kirra Beach was crowded with locals and visitors who watched the grand opening of the pavilion by the Queensland Minister for Public Instruction and Assistant Treasurer Mr F A Cooper.

Among the official guests were other government ministers, local members of parliament, Coolangatta Town councillors, Nerang Shire councillors and the architect and builder responsible for building the new pavilion. …

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