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Southport, Queensland facts for kids

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Gold CoastQueensland
CSIRO ScienceImage 7482 Highrise development at Southport Queensland.jpg
The Gold Coast Broadwater commercial district c. 2008
Southport is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 31,908 (2016 census)
 • Density 2,045/km2 (5,300/sq mi)
Established 1874
Postcode(s) 4215
Elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Area 15.6 km2 (6.0 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) City of Gold Coast
State electorate(s)
  • Southport
  • Bonney
Federal Division(s) Moncrieff
Suburbs around Southport:
Labrador Main Beach
Molendinar Southport Main Beach
Ashmore Bundall Surfers Paradise

Southport is a coastal suburb in the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Southport had a population of 31,908 people. It contains the Gold Coast central business district.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
2001 23,087 —    
2006 24,097 +4.4%
2011 28,315 +17.5%
2016 31,908 +12.7%

In the 2016 Census the population of Southport was 31,908, 51.3% female and 48.7% male. The median/average age of the Southport population is 37 years of age, 1 year below the Australian average.

52.6% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were New Zealand 6.7%, China 4.1%, England 4.0%, South Korea 3.1% and Japan 1.9%. 65.9% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 4.9%, Korean 3.3%, Japanese 2.3%, Cantonese 1.1% and Arabic 0.9%. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 34.5% and Catholic 18.4%.

According to the 2016 census, Southport is a populous and ethnically diverse suburb. Its communities of Filipino Australians (624 people; 2.0%), French Australians (277 people; 0.9%); Polish Australians (205 people; 0.6%); Russian Australians (190 people; 0.6%), Croatian Australians (160 people; 0.5%), and Hungarian Australians (152 people; 0.5%) are the largest of any suburb in Queensland.


StateLibQld 2 67276 Kiosk and jetty at Southport, Queensland
Kiosk and jetty at Southport in the early 1900s.
Queensland State Archives 1165 Surfing at Southport December 1930
Bathing in 1930

A settlement was first surveyed in 1874 and the name Southport decided the following year. Southport was once the site of timber mills. A port was established to ship logs to Brisbane. Cutting timber opened up the area for settlement. Early rural industries included sugar growing and livestock grazing.

In 1883, the first Southport Pier was built to allow steamships to bring cargo and passengers to Southport. In the 1880s, the Southport became the chosen site for the holiday residence of the Queensland Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave and his wife Lady Musgrave. Known as the Summer Place and still situated on the present day site of The Southport School, the choice of Southport as the preferred holiday destination for one of the most prominent couples in Queensland established the township as Queensland's preeminent seaside resort. Following the death of the governor in 1888, the Summer Place continued to be a holiday home for visitors to the area.

In 1889 the South Coast railway from Beenleigh to Southport opened. The line was closed in 1964. After the arrival of the rail and prior to the construction of vehicular or pedestrian bridges across the Nerang River, a ferry service run by Johan Meyer ferried passengers to Main Beach, Queensland and a horse and buggy service linked the area to Surfers Paradise.

By 1901 Federation Southport was well established as a tourist seaside spot with numerous accommodation options and a permanent population of 1230. Tourism continued to expand in the first half of the 20th century with Southport maintaining its role as a seaside resort and a popular destination for day trippers and excursionists travelling from Brisbane. The construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 1925 between Southport and Main Beach replaced the ferry service and facilitated further growth.

Southport QLD ANZAC Park 20111107-statue
ANZAC memorial, 2011

On 25 April 1922 (ANZAC Day) Southport War Memorial located at the foot of Nerang Street was dedicated by the Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Albert, John Appel, in a presence of many Southport people. In 2010, renovation of the parklands required the relocation of the memorial; it was re-dedicated on 11 November 2010.

A cement jetty was built in 1914 to replace the earlier structure. In 1927, the Pier Theatre which included a cafe and indoor golf course was built on the jetty. A fire destroyed the structure in 1932 but it was rebuilt and open to the public for nearly forty years.

By the 1950s, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. It was also the administrative centre, with a central business district.

In 2013 the business area of Southport was declared a priority development area, officially creating the Gold Coast central business district.

Landmarks and locations

Southport Courthouse
Southport Courthouse
Luxury yatchs - Gold Coast, QLD
Gold Coast Broadwater marina with apartments in Southport

The body of water marking the eastern boundary of present day Southport is known as the Gold Coast Broadwater. The Broadwater houses the Southport Yacht Club and a number of marinas on the southern bank of the Nerang River in an area now known as Main Beach. The area is used for fishing, boating, and watersports. Located opposite Southport on the far side of the Broadwater on The Spit, is the theme park Sea World. Although the Broadwater water is suitable for swimming, it is only six minutes from Surfers Paradise, which features high quality beaches and infrastructure including a permanent life guard station. The present day southern boundary of Southport is the Nerang River.

On the western side of the Broadwater, is the Southport Broadwater Parklands which opened in 2009 and has undergone subsequent expansions in 2013 and 2016. Within the Parklands precinct are the Southport Pier, Gold Coast, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and the Southport War Memorial, Gold Coast. Overlooking the Parklands is Australia Fair Shopping Centre.

Australia Fair Shopping Centre is an indoor shopping centre spreading over Scarborough Street with frontages on Nerang Street and the Gold Coast Highway. Containing 233 stores and a cinema, it was established in 1983, initially on the site of the former milk factory and entirely on the site of the former Pacific Hotel Southport which was built in 1878, redesigned in 1927 and demolished in 1988 to make way for the expansion of the shopping complex.

The western end of Nerang Street in the vicinity of the intersection of Scarborough Street is also known as the Southport Mall. The re-opening of the mall (the old CBD, located adjacent to the shopping centre) to low-speed through traffic, after eight years of closure to vehicles, took place in 2000.

At the top of the mall, on the south western intersection of Scarborough and Nerang Streets, is the Art Deco styled Hotel Cecil (Southport) which is considered an 'important anchor' in the streetscape. Opposite the hotel is a G:link station and, a few metres to the north, is the major northern bus interchange for the Gold Coast.

The City of Gold Coast Southport Branch Library is located on the Corner of Garden and Lawson Streets. It was previously located on the top floor of the Australia Fair Shopping Centre. The Southport Branch Library was completed in 2002 and is one of 14 branches of the city's library. Upstairs, in the same building, is the Local Studies Library which includes the city's historical collection of materials including documents, photographs, films, advertising and memorabilia.

St Hilda's School, which was founded in 1911, is located opposite the hospital and is the only all-girls school on the Gold Coast. Southport is home to The Southport School, which was once the largest boarding school in Queensland. The school was founded in 1901 and has a well-known clock tower and chapel. It is also one of the few schools in Australia where cadet service is mandatory.

In April 2009, the three-tower Southport Central development was opened.

in 2014, the Gold Coast City Council, in an effort to revitalise and solidify the Southport as the Central Business District for the Gold Coast, opened its own Chinatown.

The Sundale Shopping Centre, which opened on 26 March 1969, was the first of its kind on the Gold Coast costing a record $7.5 million but closed in 1989 after the larger Australia Fair Shopping Centre opened nearby. It was located on 5 hectares (12 acres) of prime real estate facing the Broadwater which was previously the site of the popular Southport Hotel which was originally constructed in 1876.

As well as providing panoramic views of the Nerang River from the upper floor, it was home to Queensland's first Big W department store as well as a cinema, restaurants, 45 speciality stores and a 7,000-vehicle car park. It was proposed as a location for the building of the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Such a development would have rejuvenated the old administrative centre of the Gold Coast. However, it lost its bid to Broadbeach, in part because of a lack of tourist accommodation in Southport.

The site hosted weekly markets throughout the 1990s for several years after its closure, until its eventual demolition in 2003, at which time a time capsule was buried where the popular mall once stood. The area is now home to the Meriton Brighton on Broadwater development, a mix of high and low-rise buildings together with trendy eateries and some retail outlets. In more recent years another a time capsule was discovered on the Sundale site which was buried when the mall was originally constructed. It was originally meant to be opened in the 2000s and was filled with notes and items which were meant to predict what the 21st century would be like. It is now located in the Gold Coast City Council Local Studies Library.


Chinatown Gold Coast

Chinatown Gold Coast The $6.8 million Chinatown precinct is being developed in partnership with the community, private sector and government.

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is located on Marine Parade adjacent to Southport Broadwater. It has a 50-metre Olympic pool with diving towers, 33- and 25-metre pools and a 15-metre indoor teaching pool. These pools are heated. There is a children's aquatic playground which includes a wading pool.

Southport Broadwater Parklands

There is a major park located along the shore of the Southport Broadwater. The state government has allocated A$16M with matched funding from Gold Coast City Council (over $32 million in total), to invest into the parklands. The works will include building a pier along the Southport Mall alignment. The park will be known as Broadwater Park.

Health and Knowledge

Located on the eastern edge of the suburb is home to the Gold Coast's health and knowledge precinct. Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus is home to over 18,200 students and offers student living accommodation. Griffith University is the city's largest University. Located across the road is the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH). GCUH is a large 800 bed teaching hospital that opened in 2013.

Southport General Cemetery

The 4.2-hectare Southport General Cemetery was gazetted on 16 July 1880. It is controlled by Gold Coast City Council as trustee. The cemetery is located on Queen Street which was the original route to Southport. This route led to the earliest wharf at Broadwater. Lantern Ghost Tours Gold Coast run historical night tours weekly through the Southport General Cemetery

Heritage listings

Southport has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Habitats for native mammals include large trees with or without hollows, fallen logs, leaf litter and understorey vegetation. These provide food, shelter and places for breeding. Southport is a place for picnics, riverside walks and birdwatching in the Broadwater Parklands.


Southport experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with humid, wet summers and warm winters.

Climate data for Southport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28.5
Average low °C (°F) 20.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 175.2

Sport and recreation

A number of sporting teams represent the local area, including the Southport Leagues Club, Southport Tigers, Southport Soccer Club, Southport Surf Life Saving Club and the Southport Sharks.

Southport Road Circuit

The 1954 Australian Grand Prix was held at the Southport Road Circuit on 7 November, using a circuit made up of public roads. The circuit was 5.7 miles in length, and there were two "no-passing" sections, where the road surface was too narrow for overtaking and too expensive to widen. The Grand Prix was won by Lex Davison in a HWM-Jaguar, ahead of Curly Brydon in an MG TC and Ken Richardson in a Ford V8 Special. Only two more meetings were held at the track – the Queensland Racing Car Championship in October 1955, and a motorcycle meeting in the same year.


Southport has numerous main roads that connect Southport with other suburbs. Gold Coast Highway travels the full length along the coast on the Gold Coast connecting Southport with all the coastal suburbs on the city. Smith Street Motorway is a motorway grade extension of smith street connecting the suburb to the Pacific Motorway that connects the city to Brisbane.

Southport is also well serviced by public transport. A light rail system called G:link opened in July 2014 and ran between Broadbeach to Gold Coast University Hospital. In December 2017 G:link was extended to Helensvale. There are seven light rail stations in the suburb, connecting Southport with the major hubs of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. There are two major bus stations – Southport and GCUH. The Southport bus station is located in the heart of the suburb on Scarborough Street which provides regular and high frequency services to mainly the northern suburbs. GCUH bus station is situated on the western part of Southport, servicing Gold Coast University Hospital and the northern part of the Griffith University, Gold Coast campus. All services are part of the Translink integrated fare system.

An extension to the light rail system was announced in October 2015. Its intention was to operate from the previous terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station. The extension opened ahead of schedule on the 17th of December 2017, months before the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Helensvale is the suburb's nearest railway station, located 11 km from the Southport CBD. The railway line provides a connection to Brisbane city and Brisbane Airport. The Light Rail extension to Helensvale now operates integrally with the University Hospital to Broadbeach South line, with connections at Helensvale to Brisbane (Roma Street).

Notable residents


Southport is recognized as the central business district of the City of Gold Coast. It has the city's largest area of office space at 103,818 m2. In the past, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. In current times it is set apart from the normal tourist hub of the Gold Coast. However, it has still experienced tourist-driven development and extraordinary growth. Southport has 18 high-rise towers either completed, under construction or awaiting commencement.


Primary only

The Southport School clock tower
The Southport School clock tower

Southport State School is a government primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 215 Queen Street (27°58′15″S 153°24′03″E / 27.9707°S 153.4007°E / -27.9707; 153.4007 (Southport State School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 580 students with 47 teachers (42 full-time equivalent) and 22 non-teaching staff (15 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.

Musgrave Hill State School is a government primary (Early Childhood-6) school for boys and girls at Nakina Street (27°57′33″S 153°23′37″E / 27.9592°S 153.3937°E / -27.9592; 153.3937 (Musgrave Hill State School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 510 students with 45 teachers (39 full-time equivalent) and 44 non-teaching staff (32 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program and an early childhood developmental program.

Guardian Angels' Catholic Primary School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at Edmund Rice Drive (27°58′23″S 153°23′03″E / 27.9730°S 153.3841°E / -27.9730; 153.3841 (Guardian Angels' Catholic Primary School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 789 students with 52 teachers (44 full-time equivalent) and 36 non-teaching staff (26 full-time equivalent).

Primary and secondary

Southport Special School is a special primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at Cnr Kumbari Avenue & Smith Street (27°57′39″S 153°23′42″E / 27.9607°S 153.3951°E / -27.9607; 153.3951 (Southport Special School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 243 students with 67 teachers (61 full-time equivalent) and 83 non-teaching staff (51 full-time equivalent).

The Southport School is a Anglican primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys at Winchester Street (27°58′58″S 153°24′52″E / 27.9828°S 153.4145°E / -27.9828; 153.4145 (The Southport School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 1,551 students with 132 teachers (126 full-time equivalent) and 103 non-teaching staff (86 full-time equivalent).

St Hilda's School is a Anglican primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for girls at 52 High Street (27°58′12″S 153°24′26″E / 27.9701°S 153.4072°E / -27.9701; 153.4072 (St Hilda's School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 1,106 students with 103 teachers (99 full-time equivalent) and 86 non-teaching staff (79 full-time equivalent).

Secondary only

Southport State High School is a government secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at 75 Smith Street (27°57′46″S 153°24′09″E / 27.9628°S 153.4024°E / -27.9628; 153.4024 (Southport State High School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 1,798 students with 130 teachers (126 full-time equivalent) and 56 non-teaching staff (46 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.

Keebra Park State High School is a government secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at Anne Street (27°59′05″S 153°23′57″E / 27.9847°S 153.3993°E / -27.9847; 153.3993 (Keebra Park State High School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 803 students with 78 teachers (75 full-time equivalent) and 39 non-teaching staff (30 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program and an intensive English language program.

Aquinas College is a Catholic secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at Edmund Rice Drive (27°58′33″S 153°22′57″E / 27.9759°S 153.3826°E / -27.9759; 153.3826 (Aquinas College)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 1045 students with 92 teachers (88 full-time equivalent) and 45 non-teaching staff (36 full-time equivalent).

Southport Flexible Learning Centre is a Catholic secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at 2 Nakina Street (27°57′37″S 153°23′37″E / 27.9603°S 153.3936°E / -27.9603; 153.3936 (Southport Flexible Learning Centre)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 59 students with 6 teachers (5 full-time equivalent) and 11 non-teaching staff (6 full-time equivalent).

Queensland Academy for Health Sciences is a government secondary selective-entry (10-12) school for boys and girls at 102 Edmund Rice Drive (27°58′02″S 153°22′58″E / 27.9671°S 153.3829°E / -27.9671; 153.3829 (Queensland Academy for Health Sciences)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 331 students with 32 teachers (30 full-time equivalent) and 19 non-teaching staff (15 full-time equivalent).

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