What Made the News in 1929

In this edition, Nicole Buckler takes a look back at the South Coast Bulletin January 25, 1929. Pressing matters of the day were squabbles between building contractors and the council (not much has changed!) sporting events, and crocodile attacks.

The South Coast Bulletin is now the Gold Coast Bulletin, owned by News Corp Australia. The original paper, however, was started by Patrick Joseph McNamara in 1885. He brought the paper to life in a tin shed on Southport’s Lawson Street. It was Southport’s first newspaper and took off to a flying start. He sold it on five years later and it was renamed the The Logan and Albert Bulletin. It was then sold once more in 1928, and the name was changed back to The South Coast Bulletin. In 1963, The South Coast Bulletin became The Gold Coast Bulletin, and it has traded under that name ever since.
Back in 1929, local issues were a big deal for Gold Coasters.

Council Matters

The first page of the issue in question covered (in way too much detail) about a squabble between a roadbuilder and the council. It reports rather enthusiastically that Mr Rice was facing huge losses on his road contract with the Southport Council as a result of “unforeseen difficulties” in the matter of obtaining metal from the Council’s quarry. Mr. T. Rice wrote a letter to the Southport Town Council asking for a payment upfront to help him complete the road. The amount was around £2000. The Australian pound was the currency of Australia from 1910 until 1966, when it was replaced by the Australian dollar. The value is worth about $155,500 in today’s money.

A special meeting to consider the matter was held. The builder felt aggrieved because the council quarry he was supposed to use was buried in muck, and he had to spend a lot of time cleaning it up before he could even start work. Said Mr Rice, “The quarry is not turning out as I expected in the beginning, through the extra work and expense of renewing overburdened; also having to cart all the clay and muck out of the quarry. It has cost me over £9 a day to cart and dump this material out of the quarry, which shows a loss at the present time on my contract of over £1000. In addition, there was the expense of putting in new face in the lower level. I think by the time the contract is completed the quarry will be opened to the best stone, which will be a big asset to the council. I have carted some hundreds of yards of spoils and stones from the quarry to the town, also partly built a new road through the property that your council has just purchased. I also have had very great trouble with the council crusher often. After going to a great deal of trouble and expense with it, it did not turn out as well as expected, but to try and push the work on I kept plugging away and doing the best I could. I have been worrying how I could get out of this loss, and I thought that if the council could help me by refunding the 2/ a yard royalty on metal which I said I was allowing the council, it would help me out of my difficulty.”
The council, after much discussion, decided to give him some financial relief.

The South Coast Bulletin January 25, 1929
The South Coast Bulletin January 25, 1929

Sporting Events

On page two, there was news of the local rifle team competing in Redbank. It says, “A team of riflemen representing the Logan and Albert District Rifle Clubs’ Union will travel in private cars to Redbank on Saturday for the purpose of taking part in a triangular contest for the Macartney Shield.”
Target shooting is one of the oldest organised sports in Australia. At the time the South Coast Bulletin was going to press, the three most popular sports in Queensland were lacrosse, horse racing and shooting. In fact, shooting was so popular that local hotels would hold matches in their grounds with big prizes. Both men and women turned up to try to haul off a prize.
The popularity of rifle shooting came about as a reaction to emerging wars. To make sure there were plenty of marksmen with a good shooting ability, in 1860, Queen Victoria inaugurated the first Queen’s Prize Shoot by offering £250 to the best marksmen in Britain. After that, Commonwealth countries also got on board, including, of course, Australia.

Members of the Logan and Alfred Rifle Club in 1909
Members of the Logan and Alfred Rifle Club in 1909, at a rifle meeting at Beaudesert. This group won the Beaudesert match. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Crocodile Attacks

In 1929, croc attacks were as scary as they are now. The Southport-based paper reported on a croc attack in Cairns. “With a big piece of flesh bitten out of his hip and five or six tears along his back, and with gaping wounds about six inches long, a young man named Kevin ConIon, aged about 24, ran out of the baths on the Cairns Esplanade last night, and collapsed on the sand after being attacked by a crocodile. While badly mauled and also suffering from shock, he is reported to be progressing. Conlon, who is employed as a packer with Burns, Philp, and Co was bathing with two companions about 15 yards out in water only about 18 inches deep, when attacked by the saurian, which it is considered to have found its way into the baths through one of the man-made large holes in the surrounding fence. The reptile was immediately afterwards seen swimming around outside the baths about 45 yards from the shore. Two shots were filed at it from rifles, but nothing more was seen of it.”

Bathers at Southport in 1929
Bathers at Southport in 1929. Those togs are not sexy! Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The issues of 1929 are still utterly relevant today. But there are some things that have changed: our swimsuits look much, much better.

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