Did you know prior to the 1960s, Kawana was undeveloped wallum country consisting of tea-tree, banksia, swamp grasses and mangroves with tidal sand and mud flats? In fact, the only access to this land was by boat via the Mooloolah River or along the ocean beach after crossing the Mooloolah River or Currimundi Lake.
The undeveloped areas further northward of Caloundra were later named Currimundi, Warana and Buddina. In 1956, there was just a sandy track winding off into the wallum bushland north of Currimundi.
Development in the Kawana Waters area commenced after the Kawana Development Lease was signed in July 1960 by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Henry Abel Smith, with assigners Caloundra – Mooloolaba Development Corporation Ltd., a company wholly or partly owned by Alfred Grant.
Grant was a land developer and the 3986 acres of land covered by the lease included 160 acres of freehold land held by CR and Arthur B Parkyn, which was locally referred to as Parkyn’s Croc Farm.
Before the lease could be granted, the developer was obliged to purchase this freehold land from the Parkyn brothers, which was done in 1959.
The remaining area was divided between the Crown and Landsborough Shire Council land. In return for handing over some 1400 acres of Council land, Landsborough Shire Council was guaranteed 2.5% of the proceeds of all land sales.
Developer Alfred Grant marketed land in the Kawana area as the Kawana Island Project. Grant ran into financial difficulty and during 1967 the Kawana Development Lease was transferred to Kawana Estates Pty. Ltd., managed by Noel Burns. Alfred Grant was also developing the Bellevue Estate on the N/E escarpment of Buderim at the time.
Later in 1967 guests gathered on August 18 to mark the official start of work on the first canal development, the Kawana Waters Canal.
Also in 1967, Mr Fred Ebner built the first two houses for the Kawana Estates developers. These three-bedroom houses sold for $9700 each. Home sites for sale in the Kawana development were priced from $1980, with deposits on land from as low as $50.
Kawana Estates actively marketed their Kawana Island development in Sydney and Melbourne and in 1978, there was a Kawana Waters Display Village located in Springvale Victoria, which featured examples of homes available at Kawana.
In 1968, Kawana Estates invited all the 41 residents of the Kawana development area to a Christmas Party and Noel Burns distributed Christmas presents from the back of a utility on Christmas Day to the areas' children.
The 10.4km Nicklin Way which linked Caloundra to Mooloolaba along the coastal strip, was officially opened by the Queensland Premier GFR Nicklin on June 5, 1965. The project included the construction of concrete bridges spanning the Mooloolah River, Currimundi Lake and Tucker’s Creek at Mooloolaba.
The bridge spanning the Mooloolah River was named McKenzies Bridge after the seafaring family who started the adjacent Bridge Seafood shop and built their home and a fishing boat wharf nearby in 1965. McKenzie Bridge was officially opened on June 5, 1965.
A bridge further south, spanning Lake Currimundi on Nicklin Way, was opened on January 18, 1964 and later named the Ahern Bridge.
Construction on the present day rock groyne walls at the mouth of the Mooloolah River commenced in September 1965 and the Port of Brisbane Pilot Station was built nearby.
Mooloolaba Boat Harbour and Pilot Station were officially opened on August 9, 1968.
Mooloolaba Waters Estate was opened for sale in August 1971, with Tuckers Creek being the first canal development.
Kern Konstruction Pty Ltd commenced construction of the Kawana Regional Shopping town at an estimated building cost of $10.5 million. The Kern Kawana Shoppingtown complex was opened October 22, 1979 by the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
From just 41 residents in 1967, the 2011 ABS population figure for the Kawana area, including Minyama, Buddina, Parrearra, Bokarina, Birtinya and Wurtulla, was 22,593.