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Surfers Paradise Meter Maids

By Rory Switzer.

They say that the only constant in life is change, and Gold Coast’s Meter Maids know this all too well. These beautiful ladies have been consistently dropping change into not only our expired parking meters, but our city for 50 years.

The Meter Maid concept was originally introduced to Surfers Paradise in 1965 as a PR stunt to combat the negative publicity created when parking meters were erected on the main strip the year prior. The maids are now seen strutting in gold lycra bikinis and an Akubra hats, but back then donned gold lamé bikinis and tiaras. This endeavour inadvertently created its own copping of negative press, but you know what the city council said? Haters gonna hate.

It was then in 1967 that our beloved coast was battered by five vicious tropical cyclones (Dulcie, Elaine, Glenda, Dinah and Barbra) and three major East Coast lows, generating the largest waves observed in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales in over a century. Large chunks of the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise and Main Beach were pulled out to sea, and many houses were lost. The coastal community banded together and launched a 5000 strong volunteer army that placed somewhere in the range of 100,000 sandbags along the foreshore to fight the erosion and avoid any further loss of homes.

Gold Coast was now in need of some serious PR to reinvigorate Aussie love for the Goldy. The Meter Maids, along with the then Mayor of Gold Coast, Sir Bruce Small, hit the campaign trails. Soon the Golden girls attracted world-wide publicity for the tourist destination and solidified their place as permanent icons of the Gold Coast. And therefore, there is no arguing that our beloved Meter Maids put the Gold, in Gold Coast.

Through the years the Meter Maids have had their battles; they’ve been sponsored by the local chamber of commerce (which stopped when two Maids appeared in Penthouse), they’ve been involved in lawsuits (a lawyer described the whole ordeal as a “storm in a D-cup”), they’ve been banned from selling their wares on council land and an original Maid was even disinherited by her grandma.

“To save you the inconvenience of a fine, our Meter Maid has inserted a coin in the meter. By courtesy of the Surfers Paradise Progress Association” – The message on the original calling cards left on car windscreens… It’s a pretty good deal if you ask us.

Image: GTS Productions /

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