Hidden history found in the heart of Gold Coast
SET between the bustle of Surfers Paradise and the commercial heart of Bundall is a little oasis of calm and memories - the Gold Coast Historical Society Museum.
But many people don't even know it exists.
Catherine Elek, whose father John Elliott helped forge the museum back in 1972 and was its president for some 25 years, gave Seniors a tour of the property which is 100% the product of volunteer love and dedication.
Volunteer Bob Musgrove said their aim was, and still is, "to preserve our past for our future".
"We really want to get the message out there that the museum is here for everyone," Catherine said.
"But Seniors really love it ... it's a walk down memory lane ... the gardens are beautiful, and it's accessible and quiet, with easy parking."
There are many different aspects to the museum, which Catherine explained is set on one of the last remaining inland sand dunes on the Coast.
A former Aboriginal gathering place where a number of artefacts were found as part of a midden, the gardens include one of the last remnants of littoral rainforest, as well as a wallum garden with edible plants.
A section of the grounds were also used as a cemetery for workers and families of the adjoining Bundall sugar mill (now Isle of Capri), and while most of the gravestones are long gone, one dates from 1878.
But it is the settler's hut, with its beautiful cottage garden, which first attracts the visitor's attention.
This is a replica of Boowaggan Cottage, home to pioneer Robert Veivers (1861), whose family was responsible for much of the area's early settlement, particularly around Mudgeeraba, and houses furniture and domestic pieces from the time as well as historical photos.
Former president, Bob Nancarrow, a builder by trade, dedicated many years to preparing an amazing collection of tools including cross-cut saws, bikes and steam engines, in Dolan's Barn, which Bob Musgrove laughingly referred to as "what we used to do before there was Bunnings".
Current president David Leitch has been working on restoring the 1912-35 engine collection which also includes steam engines from the original sawmill, and says he would be very happy to have a hand ... for anyone tempted.
As well as Aboriginal artefacts, there is a display associated with the 1903 Main Beach cable station - Queensland's first telecommunications link with overseas, schooling and early camera and filmmaking exhibits and a wonderful collection of books and photographs of the area, both on display and available on request.
One of the newest exhibits covers fashion, including Paula Stafford, who famously introduced the bikini to our lives, and 1940s-'70s designer and early aviatrix Ivy Hassard.
There really is much to see at the museum, which Catherine said made a great backdrop for artists, as well as a destination for clubs and groups (the kettle is always on), and historians.
The museum, at 8 Elliott St, is now open 10am-3pm every Sunday, as well as 10am-1pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or by appointment. Volunteers are always welcome to join the current team.
Admission is by donation, but $5 is requested to help the museum's upkeep. Members ($20 per year) are free.
Phone 0755285233, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook.