DOUBLE CELEBRATION:  Noosa News  staff outside the original office in Tewantin, built by Les Neilson.
DOUBLE CELEBRATION: Noosa News staff outside the original office in Tewantin, built by Les Neilson. Contributed

Finally local after 50 years

ONE Tewantin resident is finally calling herself a local after celebrating living in the area for 50 years last Thursday - and she has a special connection to Noosa News.

Elaine Neilson moved to the Noosa region from Sydney in 1968 at age 29 with her husband, Les, and one-year-old daughter.

Not long after their move, Mr Neilson was asked by friend Sam Griffiths to build a studio that would soon become the Noosa News office.

"Les was a builder and Sam got my husband to build a garage and that was where the Noosa News began,” she said.

"It didn't take very long to build.”

Fifty years ago the paper was more of a newsletter rather than the 40-page editions we have today.

"It was a single sheet of paper, sometimes two-sided,” Mrs Neilson said.

"Griffith Studios was an iconic sort of place in Noosa.”

Mr Griffiths was a photographer and ran a studio developing film as well as running the Noosa News.

Noosa News  staff working in the Tewantin studio in 1969.
Noosa News staff working in the Tewantin studio in 1969. Contributed

Looking back, Mrs Neilson said Noosa was a quiet, charming area.

"Noosa had a very villagey atmosphere, nobody locked their cars or houses,” shesaid.

"All Hastings St was, was houses with a few small motels and caravan parks.

"It was a really good time here.”

Mrs Neilson said people used to drive straight up to the beach to have a surf and a block of land at Sunshine Beach was $500.

"There were surfy kids with surfy shorts who lived on peanut butter and bread,” she said.

Les and Elaine Neilson on their wedding day.
Les and Elaine Neilson on their wedding day. Contributed

"I remember also there was a butcher near the bridge at the Marina who used to put a line out the back and catch ducks - imagine doing that today.”

Back in the day, Tewantin was the main hub of the region.

"Tewantin was like the dormitory, everyone who worked in Noosa lived here,” Mrs Neilson said.

Over the years, Mrs Neilson admitted there had been change but said Noosa had still retained its relaxed atmosphere.

"I think it's wonderful and it hasn't lost its charm,” she said.

"The foreshore at Noosa along the river was very ordinary back then - it's beautiful now.”

While she remembered one takeaway shop and an outdoor cinema with deck chairs in Tewantin, Mrs Neilson said one place had stayed the same: "The Royal Mail hasn't changed and it really needs to!”


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