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Cotton Tree Caravan Park

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  6. This north-easterly portion of the reserve was not submitted for sale because it was considered tidal. Following the land sales, the number of seasonal campers on the reserve appears to have declined, until , when more "canvas houses" than in previous years were noted. The last reported Salvation Army encampment took place in , with tents on the reserve. The Maroochy Shire Council's involvement in managing the Cotton Tree reserve gradually increased during the interwar period.

    A new jetty was constructed in and new bathing sheds were constructed in Sanitation was an important concern for the increasing number of visitors to the site, with Health Inspector's ensuring the wells and cabinets at Cotton Tree were cleaned before holidays.

    Under its Seaside Improvement Scheme, the council improved access to the reserve during , with camping fees introduced by this time.

    New camping areas were also established on the beachfront extending south to Mooloolaba. In , the reserve was re-gazetted, with Maroochy Shire Council as trustee. During the interwar period, coastal resorts to the south and north of Brisbane today's Gold and Sunshine Coasts became more reliant on the provision of adequate roads and bridges to attract and deliver the growing amount of motor-driven tourists.

    Improvements to road networks during this period strongly influenced the development of the tourist industry in the Maroochy area. Until the late s, the Maroochy River was the key transport route to Maroochydore, with most visitors arriving by motor launch at the Cotton Tree jetty, via Nambour railway station and the Moreton Mill tramway.

    In the Maroochy Shire Council began work on a road suitable for motor vehicles between Nambour and Maroochydore. By the route was upgraded to a Main Road, effectively ending the Maroochy River's role as the key transport artery for Maroochydore. The first section of the Bruce Highway , between what is now Rothwell and Eumundi , was opened in December For the first time, motor tourists from Brisbane had reliable access to the North Coast, with a trip to Maroochydore taking approximately two hours.

    The potential for tourism growth at North Coast seaside and mountain resorts had been a key factor in the decision to allocate Main Roads funds to this project, and when first opened, the highway was classified as a "tourist" road. The Main Roads Annual Report of commented on the "remarkable" progress of North Coast seaside resorts, particularly Maroochydore and Caloundra, following construction of the highway, and recorded increased traffic on both the highway and connecting roads. The improvements to the road network fostered the beginnings of caravan tourism on the North Coast.

    Caravanning, essentially another version of camping, developed as a result of increased car usage during the interwar period. The earliest versions of caravans were more like motorhomes; cars with bodies modified by their owners to include a rear compartment for sleeping and storage. Australian manufacturers of towed caravans had appeared by the late s, some moving into the industry from building car bodies.

    Self-built caravans were also popular, with manuals published on their construction and fittings. By , Australian enthusiasts had their own journal and motoring supplements in newspapers were devoting column space to caravans. Caravans were reported alongside tents at Maroochy seaside camping grounds by the end of , with the region's earliest private caravan accommodation, Tooway Park near Caloundra, under construction in the same period.

    By , caravans were registered in Queensland. For the affluent motor tourist who holidayed at seaside camping grounds, caravans offered freedom and flexibility, without sacrificing comfort. As a "home away from home", fitted with modern conveniences, caravans were markedly different from the simplicity of camping under a canvas tent. They were an alternative to local hotels and guesthouses, which were in high demand during peak seasons and offered varying levels of quality. Camping numbers at Cotton Tree steadily increased during the late s, and continued to do so following the end of World War II.

    Police were stationed on the reserve during holidays and there was a daily attendance of officers from the Maroochy Shire Health Department.

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    A new ranger's office was built in time for Christmas , when an estimated people camped on the waterfront between Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. The popularity of caravans became more noticeable by the end of the s with an estimated 12, caravans on Australian roads by the end of In , increasing numbers of caravans were noted on North Coast roads. The RACQ urged local authorities on tourist routes to provide "well equipped camps" to prepare for the boom. The lifting of petrol rationing by the Menzies Federal government , the increased affordability of cars for the wider population and longer paid holidays were catalysts for the growth of mass motor tourism during the s.

    Cotton Tree Caravan Park - Wikipedia

    In turn, this growth influenced the number of caravan users and the associated development of caravan parks. Queensland's caravan registration figures grew rapidly during the decade from in , to in In the s relatively few sites in Queensland offered the infrastructure considered desirable for accommodating caravanning needs. Caravan advocates looked to the United States and the United Kingdom for examples of best practice in caravan parks also known as trailer parks and auto camps.

    Caravanning guides and journals offered suggestions for layout and features. These involved a more formal arrangement of space than camping, characterised by a grid or circular design and landscaped grounds. Features to consider included a location near a main road, a prominent entrance, recreation room, brick amenities block, levelled concrete slabs, landscaping, hot showers and electricity.

    The Maroochy Shire Council played a key role on the Sunshine Coast in developing caravanning facilities. One of its earliest responses was in , when it established a short-lived "auto-camp' in Nambour. Docherty of the Caravan Club of Australia congratulated Maroochy Shire in their "pioneering venture," on what was thought to be the first council sponsored Caravan Park to be officially opened in Australia.

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    This park was closed in By , the Maroochy council had allocated 30 sites for caravans at Cotton Tree, although this was a fairly small amount compared to the tent sites on offer. A decade later, attention was being drawn to the poor state of the Cotton Tree campground for growing caravanning needs, as demonstrated by the small number of caravans on-site.

    Cotton Tree Caravan Park

    The area was still informally laid-out and uneven, with little in the way of clearly marked camp sites or permanent tracks. The scale of the upgrading was recognised in , when Cotton Tree was rated as one of the top "holiday parks" in Australia. More caravans were on-site, coupled with an increase in length of time stayed.

    In , local division Councillor L. Pierce claimed the Cotton Tree reserve was Maroochy Shire's greatest asset, an acknowledgment of the importance of tourism to the region's economy. In , there were at least nine council and 20 privately operated caravan parks on the Sunshine Coast. This was a significant increase since , when the Australian Caravan and Touring Manual listed nine in total, marking the decade as a high point for caravan park development on the Sunshine Coast. Conveniences included town water, a septic system, washing machines, irons, bottled gas and ice.

    By the s, caravanning holidays were a common leisure practice in Australia. A self-contained holiday in a caravan was an annual ritual for many campers, often returning to the same park year after year, members of a holiday community linked by shared experiences of place. After private houses, caravans were the most popular form of holiday accommodation in Australia in Caravan parks were recognised as significant contributors to local economies in tourist regions, through accommodation fees and flow on effects to other local businesses. By , there were powered sites at Cotton Tree, the largest caravan park on the Sunshine Coast. The process of periodically updating facilities of caravan parks, while retaining their low scale and relative affordability, is a common feature of their development.

    The number of sites was reduced to lessen crowding and to provide more individual space, and concrete slabs for caravan annexes and sewerage were installed. Among the works were new water, sewerage and power connections to sites, sealing and kerbing of internal roads and additional concrete slabs for caravans.

    The council intent was to make the site one of an "international standard", that would continue to generate income for the Shire. Photographic evidence reveals that between and , the internal streets and adjacent sites were realigned on a predominantly north-south orientation. The position of the Cotton Tree reserve on the mouth of the Maroochy has resulted in fluctuations in its size, and has exposed the site to extreme weather events such as king tides, cyclones and floods. At various times, sand has been deposited and reclaimed at the northern end of the site.

    When the reserve was re-gazetted in the area was almost 17 hectares 42 acres , more than double its size.