ALTHOUGH I moved from Maryborough to Brisbane to join The Courier-Mail in 1956, I never visited Noosa until 1960. Sure my wife Jan and I had a couple of holidays on the Sunshine Coast in a Caloundra flat before that, but we never travelled farther north.
By the way, it wasn't the Sunshine Coast in those days. It was the North Coast and the Gold Coast was the South Coast.
In 1960 the editor, T.C.Bray, a tough but great bloke, moved me from Police Rounds reporting into the Sports Department to cover rugby league and tennis and a few other sports and I wasn't too happy about it because I loved chasing crime, fires and accidents in Police Rounds.
Soon after the transfer I was asked to cover a surf lifesaving carnival at Noosa because the regular surf lifesaving writer, the late Frank O'Callaghan, was away.
So off I went to Noosa for the first time. It was a bit different back then compared to today. Hastings Street had a caravan park at the southern end where the cop shop is today. At the other end was a very rough camping ground and the mouth of the Noosa River was only about 100 metres from the end of Hastings Street.
On the beach side of Hastings Street were a couple of small shops and a row of old weatherboard houses and huts and a couple of weatherboard guest houses. I stayed in an old boarding house on the beach that time and I think it cost five shillings for bed and breakfast. That's 50 cents today.
The only pub in town at the time was up Noosa Drive from Hastings Street on top of the hill. It had fantastic ocean views up towards Double Island Point.
But it had to be a certain time to be able to view it - like when you had a few beers and needed a wee-wee. You would leave the public bar, which had four walls and no windows, walk across the room to the toilet, step up to the urinal, and let fly while looking out the window.
And what did you see while having a pee? Fantastic views overlooking the old houses and shops in Hastings Street, across the beautiful beach and across the beautiful sea up north to Double Island Point. When you finished, you left the beautiful views and walked back into the closed-in public bar.
You see Ian's parents went close to buying the pub back in the late 1960s but preferred a pub out Warwick way.
There was some excellent Main Beach surf that day in 1960 and a few board riders out around First Point at Johnson's Bay.
Remember back then there were very few boardriders around because surfboards with fins had only been introduced to Australia by some Yank athletes who were in Australia for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.
Seeing them got me interested in surfboards, and a couple of months later when Jan and I were holidaying at Caloundra, I decided to visit an old Maryborough swimming mate, a former Queensland Railway lad porter named Hayden Kenny.
Some time earlier Hayden had opened his board-making business at Mooloolaba. I borrowed a board, about 10-foot long, which was the normal thing back then, and drove back to Caloundra. That afternoon I launched it into six-foot surf at the southern end of Kings Beach and paddled out.
I paddled like fury onto the first swell that came along and took off like a rocket but before I could get up the board speared into the sand, shooting me off like a rocket and almost breaking my neck.
Anyway after the Noosa lifesaving carnival ended, I phoned the story back to The Courier-Mail and decided to walk around to National Park.
When the old bush track to National climbed up over First Point I was astounded by the views from that fantastic rocky point. I sat down on the point for quite a while, watching the sun go down ... and the great surf with about three or four boardriders out.
You must remember back then there were so few boardriders around that when you passed a car with a surfboard on top you waved at them frantically and they did the same to you.
That spot at First Point became my favourite spot. I even camped there in my swag a few times.
Then one day driving up to National all hell broke loose in my head - there were builders on First Point constructing four bloody units. You can't, I told them. This is part of National Park.
Unfortunately all us surfers had believed that but it was not correct. So up went the four units, and I hated it. But if I had a couple of million bucks today I would buy one and move in. They have the best ocean views in the world.
The best of those was in an old weatherboard house named Rainbow's End, right on Johnson's Bay on a triangle of land where you turn off Park Road into Little Cover Road, just across the road from where those bloody First Point units are today.
But I'll tell you more about Noosa and Rainbow's End and the whole North Coast in my surfing days in my next story, which I hope will be posted before Christmas. (Many thanks to Ian Oliver for the photos of Rainbow's End from the 1960s)