Surfers' Paradise, Australia's first great international playground is taking shape down here, on as unlikely a set of old sand dunes as you'd ever find. [...] Nobody quite knows why. Nobody knows the processes by which a resort suddenly adds up to more than the sum of its assets; suddenly develops a personality of its own. Nobody planned it Surfers' Paradise, the Pacific Beach about 50 miles south of Brisbane, has been known since Jim Cavill built his first hotel on the sandy wastes here 29 years ago.
Brisbane families built seaside cottages nearby. Graziers moved in for their summer holidays. It was slow and sleepy and khaki-clad. With the winter sun, the hibiscus blooming in the streets, gulls wheeling and whales playing out to sea, they used to call it the place where good Melboure and Sydney people went to die.