Backward Glance - Easter fun and games
  • Wednesday 28 March 2018

Here on the Sunshine Coast, Easter often brings with it a change in weather as our warm days begin to cool down.

It also kicks off the first school holiday break for the year.

Thoughts turn to relaxation as many people take a few days out of their work schedules.

Camping, caravanning, fishing and bushwalking have long been popular pastimes on the Sunshine Coast at this time of year.

Many people attend services at their local church during Easter as it is a period of reflection for the Christian faith.

Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the March equinox so the date changes each year depending on the lunar cycle.

The most common church services are held on Good Friday and Easter Sunday where church communities gather to give thanks and pray.

Baked Easter goods are popular in many parts of the world.

In Australia, many of us enjoy hot cross buns filled with dried fruits and spices, traditionally decorated with a cross to symbolize the crucifixion.

Don’t forget, the Easter Bunny may even visit kids on Easter Sunday, bringing chocolate eggs and other special treats.

In 1964, thousands of spectators lined Currie Street, Nambour for a wheelbarrow derby held on Easter Saturday.

The Lions Club Nambour organised the derby to raise funds for community causes.

It was a successful event with so many nominations, the well-oiled wheel barrows had to be run over two heats.

Due to jostling and a bottle neck, a spectacular pile-up of pushers occurred about five metres from the start line in the first heat.

Those who avoided the collision raced along Currie Street where they changed from passenger to pusher, finishing in front of the Civic Hall.

This incident was not repeated in the second heat as crowds were asked to give participants extra space.

Once the two heats were decided, the place getters lined up again for a grand finale.

There was a lot of laughter and fun for a worthy cause, barracking from the enthusiastic crowd was heard through the streets of Nambour.

Winners of the wheelbarrow derby were B. Burke and M. Postle with A. Pitman and G. Tomasi in second place and third place went to J. Cutmore and W. Worth.

In the mid-1970s, the Rotary Mooloolaba Prawn Festival was a popular event at Easter time.

Many zany activities were encouraged and the theme for the competition was “Anything Goes” which proved to be a very funny spectacle with raft and road races and amazing costumes.

Teams comprised of two females, three males and a reserve.

Community-minded Butts Supermarket and Drapery sponsored the competition and Rotary received the fundraising profits.

In 1978, Sunshine Coast Billy Cart Championships were planned at Aroona for the Easter holidays with proceeds going to Caloundra Hospital.

A reminder in the promotional advertisement stated “all billy carts must have effective brakes and crash helmets must be worn”.

If you didn’t own a crash helmet, the Caloundra Lions Club would lend you one.

There were children’s races and also one for adults.

A special note advised that ride-on lawn mowers or similar motorised vehicles would not be accepted.

Tanawha World, a new tourist complex opened in time for the Easter holiday on March 29, 1979, was launched by husband and wife team Derek and Marylou Heisler.

Tanawha World was situated between the Buderim and Maroochydore turnoffs on the old Bruce Highway.

The grand opening was advertised in the Nambour Chronicle and it promised to be a splendid occasion with proceeds on the first day going to the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard.

Attractions included “Ping Pong” the elusive Tanawha gorilla, goat club displays and train and boat rides with free gifts for kids.

At the family restaurant known as the Bird Room you could enjoy a steak and salad from $2.75.

The Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial surfing contest is held at Moffat Beach each year at Easter time.

The WindanSea Surfing Club is staging the forty-forth year for this important annual sporting event.

It is one of the longest running surfing contests in Australia and this year has a prize pool of $15,000.

Held over the Easter long weekend, March 30 – April 1 at Moffat Beach, the surfing fraternity will visit our region to celebrate the history of Caloundra’s two iconic characters, Ma and Pa Bendall.

The Bendalls were quirky characters who starting surfing in the early 1960s when they were in their 50s.

They encouraged the youth in the area and started an invitation only club known as the “Moffateers”.

Pa was an ex-Canadian Air Force officer, who blew a whistle when he caught a wave to let other surfers know he was coming through.

Surf etiquette was paramount and you certainly would not have been welcomed as a Moffateer if you broke the rules, which included no swearing or driving around in fast cars.

Ma was a stalwart, both friendly and kind, who was the oldest female surfer and probably only one of few females in those early days who did surf in Queensland.

In 2017, the Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial contest won the 2017 Sunshine Coast Sporting Event of the Year.

A park above the Bendalls’ favourite spot at Moffat Headland is named after this special couple.

The original Ma and Pa Bendall boards are displayed at the Torquay World Surf Museum where the Bendalls are acknowledged as two of Australia’s iconic surfers in the formative years of Australian surfing.

Happy Easter to everyone. Enjoy a safe and relaxing break.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.


Hero - Local and visiting members of Maroochydore S.L.S.C. posing for a photo on Maroochydore Beach, Easter 1927

Image 1 - Bakers Radio and Electrical vehicle in the annual Easter Parade, Bulcock Street, Caloundra, 1957

Image 2 - Family groups relaxing on Mooloolaba Beach during the Easter vacation, Mooloolaba, ca 1955

Image 3 - Wheelbarrow Derby, Currie Street, Nambour, 4 April 1964

Image 4 - Place-getters in the Wheelbarrow Derby held by the Lions Club of Nambour on 4 April 1964.     
Pictured: B. Burke and M. Postle (winners), A. Pitman and G. Tomasi (second) and J. Cutmore and W. Worth (third)

Image 5 - Interior of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Currie Street, Nambour, 1975

Image 6 - Aerial view of Surfair and planes participating in the Easter Air Pageant at Maroochy Airport, Marcoola, 1973. 
The pageant was planned by the Nambour Lions Club members and included formation flying and aerobatic displays, parachute jumping, crop dusting and joy flights

Image 7 - William J. Butt's General Store, Maroochydore, ca 1927

Image 8 - Ma and Pa Bendall of Caloundra standing beside their Woosleys surfboards, ca. 1965