Monday, March 12, 2007

Balmy Days of Noosa and Sunshine Beach

a view of Sunshine Beach and Sunrise Beach from the top of the hill
Beaches-14 Coastline. Noosa Heads, Australia

Noosa Heads and Sunshine Beach still hold a special place in my heart. These areas were my playgrounds as a child and teenager. I spent seven years living and working in the area before my move to Hinchinbrook Island and my thirteen adventure-filled years in tropical North Queensland. There was a time I believed I would never leave the Noosa area, but life took a sudden turn. I hit a crossroad and turned my sights northward. I don't regret the decision I made at the time and probably would do it all over again, given the chance.

Included in the pictures above is Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, wherein I had my little greengrocery/healthfood store. I made the shop fun, and even though I worked hard in was my 'baby'...there were many hilarious moments.

The other shopkeepers in the open arcade where my store was situated were a friendly lot. I had a huge store-room at the rear of my store, which included a large cold room to hold my precious produce. This 'precious produce' included cartons of beer and bottles and casks of wine. From around 4pm each afternoon, the other shop-holders visited me for 'cocktail hour'. From that time onwards there was a lot of coming and going as they snuck out the back for a cleansing ale or a refreshing glass of grape juice! I think our little shopping centre became the first 'late-night' traders in Noosa, as there were many evenings a spontaneous arcade party erupted during which we all remained open to the public! I'm sure such behaviour wouldn't be allowed today and more's the pity.

I remember one particular day when it had been raining non-stop for a day or so. Hastings Street was deserted because the tourists remained indoors watching television or doing other more enjoyable holiday indoor activities. I decided to have a picnic on the floor of my store! The floor covering was green indoor/outdoor carpet tiles that is reminiscent of grass. I put down a checkered gingham tablecloth, set out various foods, including dips and salads and soon the other shopkeepers wandered in to join me. Those tourists brave enough to battle the weather threw us some strange, bemused looks as they passed by. Some even joined us!

One doesn't have to be insane but it certainly does help!

I had an on-going argument with Mum and Dad Swallow who decided my back room was an excellent 'housing estate' for them to set up home and raise their family. They would commence building their nest and I would knock the nest down before they managed to get it underway, instructing them that there was a far better spot for them outside in a protected nook. Our war lasted over many days, but in the end, I had a victory. Mr and Mrs Swallow relented and saw the wisdom of my choice for their accommodation. I left them to their busy chore of setting up home in the nook. I watched with interest as they studiously erected their nest. Very soon after completion Mrs Swallow laid her eggs. I became intrigued watching the family grow. I learned how the parent birds taught their young to fly. Each day it would be a little further and a little higher until, sadly, the day arrived for the young birds to leave their sanctuary forever.

Through my shop, I met many interesting people. It was difficult for me to sell it, emotionally, but life moves on and one must move along with it.


  1. Anonymous7:07 PM

    We go to the Coollum kite festival every year and head up to Noosa afterwards. I adore the area as I grew up in Mooloolaba. We now go over to Bribie Island or up to Caloundra for our beach adventures.

  2. Hi Lee, the Noosa of the 70s, pre the hype of Hastings St and NOOSA in general terms was such a lovely spot that I'm afraid I'm not a fan of the new Noosa.
    The atmosphere of your shop does sound great though.

  3. I didn't know you are an ex-Sunshine Coast girl, Nicole. I prefer it far more than the Gold Coast, anyday.

    I'll always be a fan of Noosa, Peter. I love's in my blood! Noosa has a special magic about it and no matter what anyone does to the place, that magic will always remain...well, that's in my humble opinion, anyway! ;)

  4. What a magical post, Lee. Your shop sounds like a wonderful place ... they don't make shops like that anymore. I've been to Noosa only once, and thought it very trendy and busy.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Take care, Meow

  5. It is that, Meow...but it's also lots of fun...and it is a beautiful area...particular through the national park...and across to Sunshine Beach, where I lived.

  6. What beautiful pictures. Another nice story, too.:)

  7. Thanks, Serena...glad you liked it. :)

  8. I would have been one of those tourists who joined you in the party. I like that kind of neighborly living. I does make life worth living and says a lot about your wonderful way with folks.
    The pics are breathtaking.

  9. Hi Lee ~~ The photos are terrific and
    show us more of Noosa -- I have only ever driven through it without having a look around. Your shop sounds wonderful and I am sure the other shopkeepers thought so too. That brother of mine left a message on the last post about how he will be crossing the Nullabor when our teams are playing and said Bad luck Blues ahead of time. So we gotta win!! I did think he would be here by then, but will be soon after.
    Take care Lee, Love, Merle.

  10. You would have been more than welcome, Cliff. It was a fun little shop and that picnic was one of the highlights!

    Hi there, Merle...Peter will be knocking on your door before you know it! With you and I pushing for can they lose? ;)

  11. Do you know, Lee, I haven't been to Noosa for 15 years. Somehow I never get past Mooloolaba where my brother lives. Well, when Mum and Harold come over in September, maybe I'll make a special trip to Noosa. Lovely photos and Hastings Street doesn't look too different...I'll have to wait until I get up there and see.

    You're like me, I love the Sunshine Coast, but it's become very tourist orientated in the last few years. Pity, but we have to go with the times.

  12. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Lee, super post. Where does the name Noosa come from? Abriginal or something else. You sure had some pretty fine times. Nice to read about them.

  13. I just love it when I can go on a photo journey with your stories. It really does make me want to visit one day. For now I will settle for the great story with the photos. Keep it coming it gives me a wonderful break from my chores.

  14. What a beautiful place, Lee. And your shop sounds wonderful. I bet all those shopkeepers were sad to see you leave!

  15. Next time you visit your brother, Robyn, you should take a drive north to Noosa...taking the coast road...a trip around to National Park at the end will make it worth while.

    Steve, thanks for your comment. Glad you're enjoying my stories.

    "Noosa" was derived from "Noothera"
    The name “Noosa” is derived from the Aboriginal “noothera” or or "gnuthuru", an Aboriginal word meaning shade or shadow.“gnuthuru” meaning shade or shadow. The Gubbi Gubbi people roamed the area and traversed the waterways in bark canoes. The river system provided an abundance of food. From what I've read, the Gubbi Gubbi was a well-planned matri-lineal society with the woman’s name being given to the land and the tribe.

    Hi Sandra, it's good to see you enjoyed your visit to Noosa. :)

    Liz...I stole one of the staff from my neighbouring shops...Bronnie, who came up to Hinchinbrook Island...well, I didn't actually 'steal' her. She begged for a job on the island. And Mark, whom I've referred to in a couple of my island stories was the nephew of another shopkeeper. He visited Noosa a few times on surfing safaris and when he heard about the island, he pleaded for a job as well.

    Thanks everyone, for your comments.

  16. Great reminiscence Lee and I loved the pictures. Must be time to come visit again. Seven years since last time. My BIL has now moved to Brisbane so I will get to visit Qld next time.

  17. Hi does sound like time you visited 'home' again. As you would be aware, the winter months here in Queensland are the best times to visit...beautiful one day, perfect the next!

    Thanks for stopping by! :)