What Was the Original Name of Surfers Paradise?

Upon learning that there’s a place called Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, I thought it got its name because of its unique waves that make it a paradise for surfing enthusiasts. But that’s not it, and it has an original name even before it was called Surfers Paradise.


What was Surfers Paradise originally called? Elston was the Surfers Paradise original name. This coastal town became famous because of the Surfers Paradise Hotel, the first public accommodation built in the area.


Learn how Surfers Paradise got its new name in this post and what made this place popular:


From Elston To Surfers Paradise


The original name of Surfers Paradise is Elston. It was a community across from a ferry operated by Johann Meyer.


The Meyer’s Ferry runs from a port at the end of Cavill Avenue (formerly known as Ferry Road) over the Nerang River. This road was the focal point of Surfers Paradise’s future commercial area.



Meyer’s Ferry also runs the route from Southport to Coolangatta coach. Later on, Meyer constructed a beach road hotel and called it “The Meyer’s Ferry Hotel.” The hotel, once the only place to stay in the neighbourhood, was located on the riverside at the end of Cavill Avenue.


Sadly, a fire destroy it in 1893. Fortunately, Johann later had the chance to build a new hotel. It is close to Cavill Avenue and the Gold Coast Highway. The hotel was remarkable for its time, being one of the first hotels in Queensland to have electric lighting. However, the hotel’s license expired after Johann passed away in 1901, and the structure was ultimately demolished. 


Meyer’s Ferry continued to transport automobiles and people all over the river until 1925 when the Jubilee Bridge connecting Southport and Main Beach was finished. Residents filed an appeal against the ferry service’s closure. It was temporarily reinstated, but eventually, it totally stopped operating in 1928.



Before Meyer’s ferry and The Meyer’s Ferry Hotel exists, Johann Meyer was once an immigrant from Germany. He bought a piece of property from James Beattie in January 1877. The land was three miles south of Southport.


Before constructing a small mill and growing sugar cane on the property, the Meyer family originally planted potatoes and corn on the plot. But, the sugar mill didn’t last very long.

Surfers Paradise, A Marketable Name


There was no public accommodation in the area until Jim Cavill built the Surfers Paradise Hotel in 1925. This occasion began Surfers Paradise Gold Coast fame.


One year had passed since the Jubilee Progress Association was established, and the Jubilee Bridge over the Nerang River was inaugurated. With 16 rooms on two floors and a mock Tudor design, the hotel attracted more and more drivers and beachgoers. In 1926, a life-saving surf club was founded with Cavill’s enthusiastic backing because he saw how it would increase hotel guests.


If you are interested in this kind of topic, also learn what was the Gold Coast originally called in this article. It will help you have a better understanding of this beautiful coastal city in Queensland.


Also read:

Is Surfers Paradise a Good Place To Live?