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City of Gold Coast
Location within South East Queensland
Gold Coast City Council crest.png
City of Gold Coast Coat of Arms
Population 606,774 (2018) (2nd)
 • Density 454.85/km2 (1,178.1/sq mi)
Established 1948
Area 1,334 km2 (515.1 sq mi)
Mayor Tom Tate
Council seat Surfers Paradise
Region South East Queensland
State electorate(s) Bonney, Broadwater, Burleigh, Coomera, Currumbin, Gaven, Mermaid Beach, Mudgeeraba, Southport, Surfers Paradise, Theodore
Federal Division(s) Fadden, Forde, McPherson, Moncrieff, Wright
Website City of Gold Coast
LGAs around City of Gold Coast:
Logan Redland Redland
Scenic Rim City of Gold Coast Coral Sea (Pacific Ocean)
Tweed (NSW) Tweed (NSW) Coral Sea (Pacific Ocean)

The City of Gold Coast is the local government area spanning the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and surrounding areas. With a population of 606,774 it is the second most populous local government area in Australia (City of Brisbane being the largest). Its council maintains a staff of over 2,500. It was established in 1948, but has existed in its present form since 2008. The LGA is on the New South Wales border, next to Tweed Shire which is a New South Wales shire.


Early history

By the late 1870s, the Government of Queensland had become preoccupied with the idea of getting local residents to pay through rates for local services, which had become a massive cost to the colony and were undermaintained in many areas. The McIlwraith government initiated the Divisional Boards Act 1879 which created a system of elected divisional boards covering most of Queensland. It was assented by the Governor on 2 October 1879, and on 11 November 1879, the Governor gazetted a list of 74 divisions which would come into existence. Four of these—Nerang, Coomera, Beenleigh and Waterford—were in the Gold Coast region. Southport was developed as both an administrative centre as well as a holiday destination with hotels and guesthouses to cater for visitors. Town dwellers had different needs to the rural landholders so Southport ratepayers lobbied the colonial government to create a separate Divisional Board so that rates monies raised by Southport landholders could be spent on town improvements. This resulted in the establishment of the Southport Division on 14 July 1883 by an amalgamation of part of Nerang Division and part of Coomera Division.

StateLibQld 2 65979 Esplanade at Burleigh, Queensland, Christmas 1932
Beach foreshore at Burleigh Heads, 1932

On 31 March 1903, following the enactment of the Local Authorities Act 1902, the divisions became shires. On 12 June 1914, the Town of Coolangatta was created from part of the Shire of Nerang, and on 12 April 1918, Southport became a Town.

Development and growth

StateLibQld 1 253530 Aerial view looking towards Point Danger, Coolangatta, ca. 1952
Aerial view looking towards Coolangatta, ca. 1952

On 9 December 1948, as part of a major reorganisation of local government in South East Queensland, an Order in Council created the Town of South Coast by amalgamating Town of Southport, Town of Coolangatta and coastal sections (around Burleigh Heads)of the Shire of Nerang, creating a narrow coastal strip. The same Order abolished all of the earlier Shires and amalgamated most of their area into the new Shire of Albert, with the rest becoming part of the Shire of Beaudesert. The Order came into effect on 10 June 1949, when the first elections were held for the new councils.

On 23 October 1958, the Town of the South Coast adopted the name of Town of Gold Coast, and on 16 May 1959, the Town was proclaimed as the City of Gold Coast by the Governor of Queensland, having met the requirements for city status. Most of what is now regarded as the Gold Coast urban area was at that time located within the Shire of Albert, which had its administrative offices in Nerang-Southport Road, Nerang.

A regional authority

On 19 March 1992, the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission, created two years earlier, produced its report External Boundaries of Local Authorities, and recommended a number of changes to local government boundaries and the amalgamation of some local governments. Although their recommendations only included boundary adjustments between the Gold Coast City and Albert Shire, the outcome following much public debate was a decision by the Queensland Government to absorb Albert Shire into Gold Coast City. The Local Government (Albert, Beaudesert and Gold Coast) Regulation 1994 was gazetted on 16 December 1994, resulting in the amalgamation of the Shire of Albert into Gold Coast City at the 1995 local government elections.

In 2007, as part of a report recommending massive amalgamation of local government in Queensland, the Local Government Reform Commission recommended that the Beenleigh-Eagleby region on the Gold Coast's northern border be transferred to Logan City, on the basis that a common community of interest existed and that planning of the South East Queensland urban footprint would be made more efficient by the change. The area to be excised was estimated by the Commission to have an area of 49 km2 (18.9 sq mi) and a population of 40,148. The change took effect at 15 March 2008 local government elections.

Heritage listings

The Gold Coast has many heritage-listed sites, including those at:

Suburbs and localities


Populations are provided below for the Gold Coast (Southport/Coolangatta, South Coast, Gold Coast) and Albert entities. As Albert included the entire Logan City area prior to 1978, figures are only provided from the 1976 census.

Year Population
(Gold Coast)
growth (%)
growth (%)
1933 6,046 N/A
1947 13,888 6.12
1954 19,807 5.20
1961 33,716 7.90
1966 49,481 7.97 6,437 N/A
1971 66,697 6.15 10,165 9.57%
1976 87,510 5.58 24,268 19.01%
1981 117,824 6.13 54,870 17.72
1986 130,304 2.03 92,766 11.07
1991 157,857 3.91 143,697 9.15
Year Population Annual
growth (%)
1991 301,554 6.21
1996 375,175 4.47
2001 441,736 3.32
2006 507,876 2.83
2011 494,501 Beenleigh left in deamalgamation


Palm Beach Community Lounge
Palm Beach Community Lounge

The City of Gold Coast has 13 libraries, a special needs library (located within Nerang Branch Library), a Local Studies Library (on the first floor above Southport Branch Library) and a mobile library service. and is a member of the Queensland Public Libraries Association. They are located at Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters, Coolangatta, Elanora, Helensvale, Mudgeeraba, Nerang, Palm Beach, Robina, Runaway Bay, Southport and Upper Coomera.

Key projects

Hinze Dam - Gold Coast
Hinze Dam was upgraded in 2011


Selected historical census data for City of Gold Coast local government area
Census year 2001 2006 2011 2016
Population Estimated residents on census night 426,661 472,279 494,501 555,721
LGA rank in terms of size within Queensland 2nd Steady 2nd Steady 2nd
% of Queensland population 11.9% Increase 12.1% Decrease 11.41% Increase 11.82%
% of Australian population 2.27% Increase 2.38% Decrease 2.3% Increase 2.38%
Dwelling structure
Dwelling type Separate house 58.5% Increase 58.9% Increase 60.4% Decrease 58.3%
Semi-detached, terrace or townhouse 16.0% Increase 16.6% Increase 18.8% Increase 20.6%
Flat or apartment 22.1% Increase 22.6% Decrease 19.6% Increase 19.9%

Notable personnel

Notable people who work for or who have worked for the City of Gold Coast include:

  • Guillermo Capati PSM, 1994 – 2017, managed the city's water and wastewater needs, long-term water planning and recycled water. Capati was awarded a Public Service Medal (PSM) during the 2013 Australia Day Honours for outstanding public service to the sustainable water future of the Gold Coast and broader South East Queensland region.

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