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Can’t touch this

  • Amy Clarke (a1), Stuart King (a2), Andrew Leach (a3) and Wouter Van Acker (a4)

Extract

Australia’s laid-back, sun-drenched beach lifestyle has been a celebrated and prominent part of its official popular culture for nigh on a century, and the images and motifs associated with this culture have become hallmarks of the country’s collective identity. Though these representations tend towards stereotype, for many Australians the idea of a summer holiday at the beach is one that is intensely personal and romanticised – its image is not at all urbanised. As Douglas Booth observed, for Australians the beach has become a ‘sanctuary at which to abandon cares – a place to let down one’s hair, remove one’s clothes […] a paradise where one could laze in peace, free from guilt, drifting between the hot sand and the warm sea, and seek romance’.1 Beach holidays became popular in the interwar years of the twentieth century, but the most intense burst of activity – both in touristic promotion and in the development of tourism infrastructure – accompanied the postwar economic boom, when family incomes were able to meet the cost of a car and, increasingly, a cheap block of land by the beach upon which a holiday home could be erected with thrift and haste. In subtropical southeast Queensland, the postwar beach holiday became the hallmark of the state’s burgeoning tourism industry; the state’s southeast coastline in particular benefiting from its warm climate and proximity to the capital, Brisbane. It was here – along the evocatively named Gold Coast (to Brisbane’s south) and Sunshine Coast (to its north) [1] – that many families experienced their first taste of what is now widely celebrated as the beach lifestyle [2]. As one reflection has it:

In the era before motels and resorts, a holiday at the Gold and Sunshine coasts usually meant either pitching a tent and camping by the beach or staying in a simple cottage owned by family or friends […] Simplicity, informality, individuality […] were the hallmarks of these humble places.2

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Can’t touch this

  • Amy Clarke (a1), Stuart King (a2), Andrew Leach (a3) and Wouter Van Acker (a4)

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