THEN: Goondoon street in the 1960's
THEN: Goondoon street in the 1960's

How boomtown Gladstone has changed since the 1960s

IN THE 1960s Gladstone had an industry boom. It was the biggest the city had ever seen - the construction of Queensland Aluminium Limited.

Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum gallery assistant Harry Gallaher and heritage officer Lyn Lee agreed this was when everything started to change.

"Over the 50s and 60s everything stayed much the same," Mr Gallaher said. "Right up until QAL, everything revolved around the meatworks."

"It was all go, go, go all the time," Mr Gallaher said.

Ms Lee said it was similar to what is happening today.

"Everybody was out there to make their buck," she said.

She experienced this first hand and said people were referred to as 'itinerary workers'.

"Most of us came here without family so we all stuck together, and we're still friends now."

She said Gladstone was more tolerant of new workers now.

"It must have been noisy in the '60s when we started work at 5am. People would have been used to sleeping in until 7.30."

During the construction of QAL the events and industries that followed brought massive changes within our region.

"QAL brought the change. It just grew," Mr Gallaher said.

With the construction of QAL came the powerhouse and Awoonga Dam.

The airport, hospital and Gladstone State High school were founded on the outskirts of Gladstone in the 1960s.

Glen Eden was made up of little farms back then.

"You couldn't get from Boyne Island to Tannum Sands either. There was no bridge. Everything was in Goondoon St."

THEN: QAL Wharf under construction 1960s
THEN: QAL Wharf under construction 1960s

But like today, people were busy and caught up with work.

"There was a water slide where the duck ponds are now in the 70s," Ms Lee said.

"But it was knocked down because people didn't use it. They were too busy working like they are today."

A steam train chugged along Flinders Parade and there was a service station on the corner of Goondoon and Tank Sts.

"Nothing much changed in a few decades in Goondoon St."

The youth spent their nights at dances and balls.

"If you went to one of them there would be four to five hundred people, they were so popular," Ms Lee said.

"I think the cities going through a similar expansion now."

They are amazed at the growth of our town since then from industry to the main street.

Harry Gallaher and Lyn Lee looking at memorabilia at the Gladstone Art Gallery/Museum.
Harry Gallaher and Lyn Lee looking at memorabilia at the Gladstone Art Gallery/Museum. Brenda Strong