Historic Queensland surf club demolished
IT was a bittersweet moment for an iconic Gold Coast surf club as the building it has called home for more than 50 years years was turned to rubble.
Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club's Broadbeach headquarters, built in the early 1960s, was bulldozed yesterday following the opening of its $15 million dollar replacement last week.
Club President Michael 'Max' McSweeney, 53, said it was bittersweet to see the old club demolished.
"I have a lot of memories there growing up as a teenager, we all do," he said.
"It was the '80s and I was living in Brisbane, most of the club members at the time came from Brisbane.
"There was a bus that brought us all down to the club on a Friday night and we'd stay for the weekend. Our parents thought we had adult supervision but we really didn't.
"We grew up in this era where we would sleep in the club, it was our whole lives and a totally different time."
Mr McSweeney said the new club site next door - which is the city's largest surf club - had been in the works for 15 years.
"While it is a bit sad, we're so excited to finally have this new development," he said.
"The area was so different when we were here back in the day ... even the Broadbeach Mall was yet to be built, Broadbeach was so different.
"We've been planning this for 15 years and the actual build took about 18 months.
"This weekend we had all the members in for the first time and nippers as well, it was great to see the look on the kids' faces, they were all so excited."
Construction of the new building began last September after years of negotiations with council and unsuccessful protests from residents, who claimed the development would block an ocean view from Charles Ave and destroy two Norfolk pines.
Following negotiations with the council, the club will also pay about $400,000 for a public toilet nearby.
The site of the old surf club will be turfed over to create parkland.
"A couple of the really old members from the '60s are a bit sad but they understand it's time to move on," Mr McSweeney said.
"We've been totally run off our feet since we opened on the weekend, it's great to see so many people supporting the new site."
Kurrawa, which was established in 1958, is one of the most successful surf clubs on the Gold Coast.
It has produced some of Australia's greatest surf lifesavers, including the late Dean Mercer.