In The Beginning
The Mudjimba Residents Association came to life on 13 October 1960 at a specially convened meeting in the Canegrower’s Hall, Nambour, with an immediate mission on a biblical theme – “Let there be light”. At that stage in the fledgling settlement’s life there was neither electricity nor piped town water in the area and although water tanks kept one necessity of life flowing, power became a top priority.
The recorded names from that first meeting of the Mudjimba Residents Association were: President, Mr Nagel; Secretary, Merv Johnston; and committee members, Vernardes, Anderson and Laffey.
The development at Mudjimba Beach was called Surfrider Estate with tree covered lots bounded by tarred roads. This was an incredible mod con for the time, as few roads on the Sunshine Coast, away from main highways, were tarred and not all of them. In fact, the Association pushed for the bitumening of the main Bli Bli Road in 1961.
In that year the first moves were made towards gaining a Community Hall with Mr Kallay agreeing “to supply a block of land with free title to a public body who may wish to build a hall in the area”. At the same meeting plans were already in the pipeline for the birth of Pacific Paradise Bowls Club with Mr Kallay again playing a generous role with an offer of 20 loads of top soil for the greens. Wages were set for a greenkeeper at 21 pound ($42) per week to care for two greens of 18 ($36) to look after one.
There was an established camping ground where the beachfront Power Memorial Park in today, complete with tank water and wood-burning stove to heat the shower water. One can imagine the huge influx of visitors – mostly from Brisbane and Ipswich – at weekends and holidays to camp on their pieces of land or in the camping ground. There were already 75 holiday homes in Mudjimba, varying from liveable houses to simple garages.
This writer worked as a Census Collector in the mid 1970’s and the ‘dwellings’ from the Maroochy River to Surfair Hotel totalled a mere 220 (excluding caravan/camping grounds). My worksheet must have raised laughs among city deskbound civil servants, with reminders of where I had put each census form so that collecting them all in was that much quicker from the many ‘residences’ not occupied on census night – ‘in the top drawer of chest on back porch, behind caravan flyscreen door, under water tank, under mat, under bricks as side’ and so on with a handwritten note stuck in the front door alerting the owner to the whereabouts of the census form. A delivered postal service was many years away meaning very few post boxes around in which the leave anything.
Mrs Gorton at the Esplanade shop was postmistress in the 1970’s and the shop became a village meeting place around 1pm when the mail arrived and was sorted into pigeon holes before being handed out to the waiting throng.
The shop was the centre of Mudjimba’s universe, with phone messages handled, as few houses had phones then. Brisbane fold would phone to check the weather before setting forth for a weekend on the coast. Strangers and visitors were pointed in the right direction. Mudjimba Beach was on few maps until recent times, with members urging the association to keep the place a secret for those who had already happened upon it, by chance, or word of mouth.