Heritage & Monuments

The Gold Coast Meter Maids

Australia / The Pacific

The Gold Coast Meter Maids are celebrated in heritage images here. They were introduced here in the 1960s by Bernie Elsey (1906-1986), a well known local property developer and entrepreneur who built the Surfrider Hotel and Tiki Village, and hosted controversial pyjama parties. As Chairman of the Surfers Paradise Chamber of Commerce, Elsey worried about the negative effect on tourism of parking meters near the beaches. So he created the Meter Maids, dressed in minimal gold bikinis to go round topping up expired meters with sixpences to save tourists from parking fines. They are still a feature of the Gold Coast to this day. In 1967 the Meter Maids became famous across Australia and New Zealand as they spearheaded a campaign to get tourists back to the Gold Coast after devastating cyclonic weather. At the end of Trickett Street, there is a fin-shaped, stone war memorial with Australian flags standing as sentries either side, installed in 2009. Nearby and closer to the road is a statue of a soldier or ‘digger’ leaning against a rifle.

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