Twin Towns is the name of a large club that sits right on the border between Tweed Heads in New South Wales and Coolangatta on Queensland's Gold Coast. Right outside the Twin Town Club is the border tower illustrating that one side of the road is in one State and the other side belongs to the other State.
The history of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta is bound up with the establishments of the Australian States. During the 19th century, large areas of what became known as Australia were successively separated to form the British colonies of Tasmania (proclaimed as separate colony named Van Diemen's Land in 1825), South Australia (1836), New Zealand (1841), Victoria (1851) and Queensland (1859). Responsible government was granted to the New South Wales colony in 1855.
Until Federation travelling between the States was a customs nightmare at the borders and Tweed Heads along the Tweed River near which the border was established became an important government post.
Timber cutters originally moved to the Tweed Valley in 1844. After the timber had been cleared, farmers moved in and bananas, cane and dairy farming became prominent as well as a fishing industry.
The border between New South Wales and Queensland, (Tweed Heads and Coolangatta) was set several kilometres the northern side of the Tweed River. This was in part due to the geographical lay out the area with so many water ways. Another consideration was that customs needed to be further north that on the Tweed River itself, and moreover, New South Wales constabulary saw the Tweed River as a significant barrier (in any case) to anyone trying to beat customs requirements.
The mouth of the Tweed River is less than six hundred metres from the border with Coolangatta at Point Danger. Today a little south of the mouth of the Tweed River is a sand bypassing system with a jetty at the of Letitia Spit that collects sand and then pumps it under the Tweed River, to beaches in the neighbouring state of Queensland.
Outlets for the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing System include Duranbah (the only beach associated with Tweed Heads), on into Queensland's Snapper Rocks East and West (the venue for the annual professional international surfing competition, the Roxy Pro), Greenmount Beach and Kirra Beach. Dredging of the navigation entrance is also undertaken regularly as part of the overall sand bypassing program. The width of Tweed River mouth is about 150 metres across and the river systems then veer south and then west.
Whereas the Tweed Shire Council has a reputation for restricting mass high rise developments for the tourism industry, the Gold Coast Council has no such issues for Coolangatta which is a tourism hub with its high rise with more coming.
One might, if one was to be liberally thinking, count on one hand the number of well established restaurants in Tweed Heads, whereas in Coolangatta there are so many along Marine Parade you lose count. The difference between Tweed Heads and Coolangatta in relation to catering for 'tourists' in cuisine is as stark as the number of beaches in each location.
Tweed Heads is the work house of this Twin Towns arrangement. The huge Bunnings and Harvey Norman type stores belong to Tweed Heads (South), there are two massive shopping centres in Tweed Heads and then Tweed City (South Tweed Heads). There is an abundance of businesses and tradesmen all belonging to Tweed Heads industry, whereas Coolangatta is the tourist centre; not even one nasty industrial smell.
We live in Tweed Heads, 200 metres from Coolangatta (the Queensland border), it reminds me of the Old Testament in the Book of Joshua about the nature of Gilgal and Ai. Gilgal was where the Israelites camped and worshipped in peace. Ai was a centre of military industry. These two centres were like chalk and cheese.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html