Jill and her husband Peter Smith have owned their Sunshine Beach property for 61 years.
Jill and her husband Peter Smith have owned their Sunshine Beach property for 61 years. Warren Lynam

How Coast couple got beachfront dream for a song

JILL and Peter Smith's entry into what has become one of Queensland's most desirable property markets came before there was even a road to their beachfront block.

They had only been married about three weeks when they bought two neighbouring blocks at Sunshine Beach for £250 in early 1957.

Mrs Smith worked for developer TM Burke in its Brisbane CBD office at the time.

Her boss was Ed Webb, after whom a park beside Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club is now named.

Even though the company was subdividing blocks at Sunshine Beach, that was not how Mr and Mrs Smith came across their land.

The purchase instead came through a cleaner who was working in the same building as Mrs Smith.

He owned the blocks with the intention of taking his sick mother there as a nice place to go.

"He was going to bring her up but she died," Mrs Smith said.

She and her husband seized their opportunity when the cleaner no longer had use for the land.

"We did come here for work as well so we were aware of the place.

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"It was absolute beachfront."

They were both 22 at the time.

"We loved the place and we still love it."

One of the blocks had a simple garage on it which had the cleaner's sink in it.

The other was vacant.

"There weren't any roads here.

"We had to drive through the scrub to come down to the garage."

Statistics from realestate.com.au showed neighbouring Noosa was second in a top 10 list of Queensland suburbs searched online by overseas-based buyers.

Surfers Paradise topped the list with 29,494 searches in the past six months, with Noosa coming in at 19,687 searches.

Mooloolaba was the only other Sunshine Coast entry, coming in at sixth with 16,092 searches.

Countries with the most buyers were New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.

Mrs Smith said the garage was steadily extended into a family holiday home which they ultimately sold for about $60,000 in the late 1970s.

They built their current home on the neighbouring block in about 1984 and moved into it from Brisbane when they retired.

"We'll stay here until they carry us out in a box," Mrs Smith said.

"The rates are pretty punishing though."

A valuation on property website RP Data listed their land alone at $2,400,000 in June 2016.

Mrs Smith said Sunshine Beach and its surrounds now provided all the amenities they needed.

"People who came from overseas would probably fit in and feel the same.

"We appreciate all the work the council has done to keep it natural and not give way to high-rises and that sort of stuff."

She said she regularly had offers to buy the home.

"Most people that know us they don't bother coming in.

"We just say we're here and we're quite comfortable.

"I just hope we get a few more years to enjoy it."


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