Backward Glance: Sunshine Coast Open House Part 1
  • Wednesday 04 October 2017
Sunshine Coast locals and visitors will have the rare opportunity to visit 30 of the region’s most intriguing buildings when they open their doors for the inaugural Sunshine Coast Open House on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

Today we showcase some of the buildings which will be featured in the free Sunshine Coast Open House which provides visitors with the rare opportunity to tour architecturally diverse, well-designed and historic buildings across the region.

Two Caloundra Lighthouses mark the entry to the North West Channel, the main shipping route into Brisbane and will be open for viewing.

The 1896 lighthouse was constructed with a timber frame and corrugated iron cladding, a construction type unique to Queensland lighthouses.

In 1968, it was replaced by the Signal Station, Light and Radar Installation, a reinforced concrete structure. The two sat side by side until 1970 when the 1896 lighthouse was relocated to Woorim Park at Golden Beach. It remained there for 29 years.

After the Signal Station was decommissioned due to changing technology, the 1896 lighthouse was restored to its original position. It is Caloundra Township’s oldest building.

There are spectacular views to the shipping channel, Moreton Island and the Glass House Mountains.

Caloundra's European history is closely linked to the story of the lighthouses and the two buildings provide evidence of the history of lighthouses from both ends of the time scale.

Nestled amongst paperbarks and the restful gardens of Felicity Park the formative years of the Caloundra Regional Gallery provide an interesting cultural history.

Always with a cultural connection Caloundra Regional Gallery was purpose built as the first free Caloundra Library.

When Caloundra Library opened in October, 1976 for Landsborough Shire Council the shire population was approximately 17,000 residents.

As the population grew due to the attraction of natural beauty and uniqueness of the region, the public library outgrew the building and a larger library was needed.

The establishment of an art gallery in Caloundra was driven by a steering committee comprising of council and community members at that time. It was a significant step forward in the cultural and artistic development of Caloundra region.

In 1997 Caloundra City Mayor Des Dwyer announced that the City’s first art gallery would be located in the old library building in Omrah Avenue, Caloundra.

In 1998 a Noosa Architectural firm Bark Design was chosen to transform the former library building into an international standard gallery. Designs and concepts for the 385 square metre space including a glassed entry foyer and a two gallery set up changed the old library into a purpose designed building where the art gallery is now situated.

Caloundra City Council chose Nexus Link to build the new gallery space with the project starting on July 8, 1999.

On Saturday, August 12, 2000 the new Caloundra Regional Art Gallery opened its doors to the public under the direction of Art Gallery Director Sandi Clarke.

Since then this facility has provided real opportunities for residents and visitors to gain access to impressive art exhibitions and activities.

Most days this modern versatile gallery space is a hive of activity as professional curators and education officers develop, as well as deliver, a range of bright and vibrant exhibitions and programs.

The impact of such a creative environment, where artists gather and display their work, where art lovers and arts board members and others who appreciate art can be seen in the growing and thriving community of the region.

The Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board was endorsed by Sunshine Coast Council in February 2016, providing advice and direction for council to consider as it develops a strategic blueprint to grow the region’s investment in the arts.

In 2016 a mural by Western Australian artist Kylie Hughes-Odgers and Andrew Frazer was commissioned for the south external wall of the gallery building as part of the Horizon Festival of Arts and Culture.

In 2017 this exciting cultural hub including the Caloundra Library, built adjacent to the gallery, provide a vibrant and positive experience that ‘shines’ in this place we call the Sunshine Coast.

We now turn the clock back to the 1960s when coastal towns throughout the Sunshine Coast were developing rapidly and there was a switch in population from country to coast as tourism began to take over from primary industries.

Landsborough Shire Council had outgrown the town of Landsborough and the shire chambers built in 1924.

Landsborough Shire Council relocated the chambers and staff offices to Caloundra with the official opening of the Bulcock Street, Landsborough Shire Chambers and offices on October 12, 1968 by Gordon Chalk, the then State Treasurer and acting Queensland Premier.

The old Maleny Road premises in Landsborough were modified and reopened on April 3, 1976 as the Landsborough Historical Society Museum.

The Bulcock Street premises were the council’s chamber and offices for the next 27 years.

On December 19, 1987 the local government area known as Landsborough Shire was declared the City of Caloundra.

Population continued to rise in the region and the Caloundra City Bulcock Street offices and chambers were rapidly becoming overcrowded. There were now ten divisions within Caloundra City.

In 1995, the Caloundra City Council engaged Peddle Thorpe Architects to design a new building to reflect a coastal style. The architect created a two storey building with a large butterfly style roof.

Semi-tropical in design through the use of sun shading devices, the construction of the building and chambers in Omrah Avenue identifies an open and transparent energy efficient office space with a large curved glass wall to the south.

On July 25, 1995 Councillors and staff moved to a newly completed Caloundra City Council Administration building at 1 Omrah Avenue. It is now known as Sunshine Coast Council Administration building in Caloundra.

Next week we will continue to shine the spotlight on our region’s architecture with part two of Sunshine Coast Open House.

Join us on October 21 at this free public event which celebrates the region’s architecture and offers behind-the-scenes access to some of the Coast’s iconic buildings. For more information visit

Image captions
Hero image: Relocating the old Caloundra Lighthouse from Woorim Park, Golden Beach, back to its original site on Canberra Terrace, Caloundra, March 22, 1999.

Carousel images:
Image 1: Canberra Terrace, looking south towards the Lighthouse, Caloundra, early 1960s.
Image 2: Caloundra Regional Art Gallery, Omrah Avenue, Caloundra, ca 2000.
Image 3: Interior of the old timber framed, metal clad Caloundra Lighthouse just before it was removed from Woorim Park at Golden Beach and return to its original site on Canberra Terrace, 22 March 1999.
Image 4: Caloundra City Council Chambers and City Council Administration building, ca 1995.