Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Urban Archaeology #1: Bernie Elsey's Beachcomber Tiki Village

In the mid 1860s James Beattie and Jim Miller built a jetty, store rooms and a large barn on the banks of the Nerang River. This original building became known as "The House of Blazes" and was Surfers Paradise's first entertainment centre. One hundred years later in 1965 Bernie Elsey built the Beachcomber Tiki Village on the same site as the 'House of Blazes'. In January 1973 Tiki Village burned down and the site was eventually sold. A new hotel, The Tiki Village International, was built at 56 Cavill Avenue in the late seventies. (Ref. Source: Mc Robbie, A., The Fabulous Gold Coast, Pan News Pty Ltd, Surfers Paradise, 1984, pp21, 174.)

My parents had their honeymoon at the Tiki Village in 1970 but I'm yet to locate any artefacts or photographs from their time there. I'll have to comb through their archives on my next visit back to the parental villa.

The attached photos, from the Gold Coast City Council Library website, clearly show the cartoonish logo tiki on the colorful signage, and a glimpse of another modern looking idol to the right of the three equally colorful identities at the opening (that's infamous politician Russ Hinze on the left and Bernie Elsey in the middle)

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