Gold Coast dreaming of swimming pools

Reflections in the outdoor pool at Meriton Apartments Broadbeach, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018

On the Gold Coast last week to go to the Commonwealth Games, I was 10 again and in seventh heaven spotting pools from our hotel balcony on the 22nd floor. 

Meriton Broadbeach outdoor pool, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018

When I cooled off in the Avani pool, the lights reflecting gold across the water, I was 13 and reliving my excitement the first time I swam in a motel pool.

Avani apartments Broadbeach pool, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018

When we walked from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise, past many 1970s, blonde-brick blocks of flats with kidney-shaped pools, I was 14 and swimming in our neighbours’ backyard pools.

Surfers Paradise apartment pool, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018

As I photographed pool after pool, I thought of Ned Merrill in John Cheever’s short story The Swimmer and how he would have had no trouble swimming home via the pools on the Gold Coast.

Surfers Paradise pool, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018

When we reached Surfers Paradise, I remembered my parents had honeymooned at the El Dorado Motel in 1958,  and felt sure they would have enjoyed swimming in that pool, apparently the highlight of Surfers Paradise’s first motel.

When I discovered it was demolished in the 1980s and replaced by the tall towers of the Crowne Plaza, I thought, sadly it won’t be long before all the original buildings on the Gold Coast are gone.

Old-style house, Surfers Paradise, photo Therese Spruhan, April 2018


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    • Yes, it’s great isn’t it – very groovy place the El Dorado Motel back in the day! Think they might have had an old Vauxhall at that stage which may have been Dad’s parents’ car.

  • oh my goodness, love the cat suits and the kaftans and the big big hair and then there’s those very stylish rock gardens and wrought iron, oh I love those old motels, staying in one specifically in Hobart just because of the 50’s style and the pool is amazing!!! so solid and built to last forever!!! Good old Vauxhall, Mum and Dad had one of them too!! Bruce you may even remember it!! Great story, Therese. and I adore your site so much!

    • It’s a classic that video of the El Dorado Motel isn’t it Virginia! The motel would be very retro and groovy now if it hadn’t been demolished! Will have to check out your 50s style hotel in Hobart! Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

  • Yes it was a lovely read. Kent Haruf is definitely up there among my favourite authors. I thought he beautifully described the lovely sensation of cooling off on a hot day sans swimmers (even if it was in a cattle water tank) and the warmth and camaraderie among the women and little Alice.

    • Thanks for your comment Hannah! Yes, Kent Haruf is one of my favourite authors too and I loved that scene in Plainsong when all the women and the little girl cooled off in the cattle tank. He has a beautiful way of writing about the intricacies of people’s lives. All the best, Therese

  • I remember the Gold coast from a family vacation many years ago, we actually stayed at the Crowne Plaza, and it is very sad what it replaced. Surfer’s is still amazing though – thanks for the stroll down memory lane.


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