THE WAY IT WAS: View of Noosa Heads photographed around the time the Noosa News began back in 1968 when the rivermouth sat adjacent Noosa Woods some 800 metres south-east of its present position. For more nostalgia, see pages 6 and 7 and read local historian Colin Monks' story of Makepeace Island.
THE WAY IT WAS: View of Noosa Heads photographed around the time the Noosa News began back in 1968 when the rivermouth sat adjacent Noosa Woods some 800 metres south-east of its present position. For more nostalgia, see pages 6 and 7 and read local historian Colin Monks' story of Makepeace Island.

Reeling in the years

IT was love at first sight. The start of an affair that has lasted more than half a lifetime.

A surfing trip in 1969, as soon as gaining a licence, gave great insight into the natural appeal of the area.

No wet suits, no leg ropes, a new "short” board of nine foot with flexible fin.

Johnsons, Little Cove 1970.
Johnsons, Little Cove 1970. Erle Levey

Noosa National Park 1970.
Noosa National Park 1970. Erle Levey

It's easy to look back fondly on those early days of Noosa. Talking with architect John Mainwaring, we remembered those free-and-easy times.

Noosa has always been about the buildings, the beaches, the river ... and the personalities.

The legacy the Noosa Parks Association, and members such as Arthur Harrold and Claude Batten have left by helping preserve the natural appeal of the Noosa landscape.

We have seen the on-going work to save Noosa beach and rivermouth after the establishment Noosa Spit to protect Noosa Sound from storm surf.

The battle of Hastings Street saw the town plan keep building heights at those of tree tops.

Those negotiations, often long-running, resulted in development outcomes that have blended in with the natural landscape instead of imposing themselves on it.

There were plans to bridge Noosa River at Tewantin to open up the North Shore and develop an airport as well as resorts.

Then there was a move to create a coastal road through the national park from Sunshine Beach to Noosa Heads instead of the walking tracks, and the associated residential development of the southern end.

Now we have national parks stretching from Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach in the north to link with Noosa and then down to Coolum Beach in the south.

The motorway has been created to take the pressure off David Low Way. Yet on my first surfing trip Sunshine Beach was a day out. A single strip bitumen to the ocean beach.An ocean beach, gravel and sand streets, a general store and a few houses. That was about it.

We didn't use the coast road. Most people drove along the highway to Cooroy and then into Noosa. The Eumundi Road was just single-lane bitumen. Wooden signposts saying the distance in miles.

We didn't even go into Hastings Street. Hays Island was just that ... an island. Mangroves lined the creek banks of what is now Noosa Sound. The Noosa River mouth was at the end of Hastings Street and the Noosa Woods camping ground on the river's bank.

Noosa Wave, the take-away at the entrance to the national park, was a favourite haunt during the day. The renovated Noosa Reef Hotel was popular at night. We surfed by day and slept in the Holden panel van.

Driving north.
Driving north. Erle Levey

Driving north, 1970.
Driving north, 1970. Erle Levey

Noosa National Park, early 1970s.
Noosa National Park, early 1970s. Erle Levey

The Noosa Reef Hotel had just been renovated. Of an evening we would have a counter meal ... more people behind the bar than in front of it.

Noosa may have changed over the years but it's lost little of its appeal.

Little Cove beach 2018.
Little Cove beach 2018. Erle Levey

Chance to find a frog in February

Chance to find a frog in February

Become a citizen scientist and learn about frogs

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