Coolangatta gold shines on a fibro flat
There was a couch in the front room of the fibro beach flat and my father would doze on it in the afternoon, a seabreeze playing with the curtains as he slept. It was at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and we stayed there once for two weeks. It would have been the late ’50s and in December, because the family always holidayed in December. I haven’t stayed there since but we went back last weekend.
“The flats were there, on the corner,” I said to my wife, pointing to where an apartment tower now soared. “There was a bakery near here and I’d be sent to buy a fresh loaf of bread from the back door every morning.”
We’d swim at Greenmount and a siren would sound when the lifesavers spotted a shark. Sometimes they would catch one, haul it up onto the beach, erect a hessian fence around it and charge two shillings to see it.
I recalled playing in the shallows with lumps of driftwood that, in my mind, were battleships, and watching Mum being dumped in the surf and my father’s comb- over hanging over one ear like a plait.
“Let’s walk,” I said to my wife and we climbed Greenmount Hill and looked to the towers of Surfers Paradise, all but lost in a distant sea mist. We walked around to Snapper Rocks where a man called Jack Evans once showed performing porpoises. I ordered drinks at the Greenmount Surf Club and we looked across the wide, white sand beach and beyond to a gathering storm.
We sat in silence and as we did, I could taste the lump of oven-warm bread that I’d gouged from the end of the loaf and guiltily savoured on a fine December morning all those years ago.