32 YEARS LATER: Region's growth era and how it happened

NOW: Gympie and surrounds in 2016.
NOW: Gympie and surrounds in 2016. Google Earth Engine

THREE of Gympie region's most significant political architects and the mayor now guiding its future, yesterday had their say on a history brought stunningly to life on new time-lapse satellite images.

The Google Earth picture sequence shows an era of breath taking change, during which Gympie emerged as a major regional centre and a vibrant growing region.

CHECK OUT THE INTERACTIVE TIMELAPSE AND SLIDER BELOW

Historian Elaine Brown remarked on images showing the "sudden" appearance of the Cedar Pocket Dam and the huge growth of areas such as Southside, The Palms, Araluen, Chatsworth, Two Mile, Rainbow Beach, Cooloola Cove, Tin Can Bay, Imbil and Gympie.

"We could watch our own house being built," she said.

Former Widgee Shire chairman Kev de Vere, his rival and successor Adrian McClintock and Mr McClintock's successor after amalgamation created Cooloola Shire, Mick Venardos, were united in one important historical view yesterday.

All this did not come about by accident.

Their successor Mick Curran said the future would also not be accidental.

"One phone call to Joh," said Mr de Vere from his Gympie home.

It was a reference to former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, then minister for water supply issues.

"Joh agreed on the phone to pay full water rates on every State Government block at Southside.

"Otherwise we would not have been able to afford it."

That was the 1970s.

The end of Fraser Island sand mining meant compensation that gave us the Cooloola Coast road to Maryborough and a lot of Tin Can Bay's kerbing and channelling, he said.

Mr McClintock said Southside's emergence had been "a dream come true."

 

"There's still a lot of growth to come on the building sites we have now.

"Now we need facilities and industry to serve and employ people."

He said he hoped lot sizes would not decrease much more.

Mr Venardos said the arrival of city amenities, including Woolworths, Coles and IGA-anchored shopping centres was a deliberate strategy "to attract the services that would make Gympie a major regional hub."

He expressed the fear that any further council mergers, such as that which created Gympie region, would make councils too big to be local.

Mayor Curran said the council played "a key role in setting out a strategic direction for development".

"Google's imagery highlights the critical importance of this function of council, for a region now home to almost 50,000 people."

Gympie Times


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