Backward Glance – Kawana Library celebrates 30 years

This month Sunshine Coast Council’s Kawana Library is celebrating its 30th Birthday. To celebrate this major milestone, let’s reflect on the history of Kawana and how the library came to be.

In the early 1960s, developer Alfred Grant believed Kawana would be a popular place to live one day.

In 1965, the Nicklin Way was officially opened connecting Caloundra to Mooloolaba.

Prior to it’s opening, if people wanted to travel from Caloundra to Mooloolaba, they would have to drive out to the Bruce Highway then onto Buderim and down to Mooloolaba. There were no bridges connecting the communities.

The Kawana Library and Community Hall were both built for Caloundra City Council on land designated for community use as part of Kawana Estates.

Noel Burns was the Managing Director of Kawana Estates from 1963-1980. Known in the region as ‘Mr Kawana’, Noel Burns was very supportive of the library service and knew just how important libraries were to create cohesive and productive communities.

It was during Noel’s time as director that land was set aside for the community precinct.

The Nicklin Way was named after Queensland Premier Frank Nicklin. In his earlier life Frank Nicklin was a farmer in Palmwoods and Peachester. He was a popular figure in the North Coast region.

On 18 August 1968, work began on the first section of canal in Kawana Waters.

The first house constructed at Kawana was built for Kawana Estates Pty. Ltd in 1969.

Until a school was built in the Kawana area, children travelled by bus some distance to get to school.

In January 1979, Buddina Primary School opened near the proposed Kawana Library, with just 252 pupils.

Kern Shoppingtown Kawana, as it was known then, first opened its doors to the public on 22 October 1979.

This shopping precinct soon became a very popular place for Sunshine Coast residents and visitors to shop.

After the 1980s, the Sunshine Coast experienced rapid population growth. By 1984 many new homes were built in the Kawana area. In the June quarter of that year 84 dwellings were approved, making it the fastest growing region in the shire.

Kawana High School opened on 28 January, 1986 with 194 Year 8 students. Bill Sperring was the new school principal. The school accommodated students along the coastal strip from Currimundi to Mooloolaba. Previously, students would have travelled to Caloundra or Maroochydore.

The Kawana Library opened to the public on 4 July 1989. Mayor of Caloundra City, Don Aldous, officially opened the library on 5 August 1989.

There were more than 100 people in attendance at the official event including Caloundra City’s CEO John Smith, the Mayor of the City Alderman Don Aldous and Cr Andrew Champion, who represented the Kawana region and became the longest serving Councillor for that area.

Cr Champion served for a total of 19 years (1985-1994 and 1997-2007). He always assisted his constituents, even running some storytelling sessions with children when visiting the rapidly growing public library.

The Caloundra City Head Librarian, Dawn Maddern, was instrumental in establishing Caloundra City Libraries popular library service.

She worked tirelessly to establish services as the region’s population rapidly expanded during the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

During Dawn’s tenure public libraries were built at Caloundra, Kawana, Maleny and Beerwah.

As the region’s population grew, extensions to the original Kawana Library building were completed on April 1, 1998.

The library extensions were designed by Blackburn Jackson and built by Image Master Constructions.

A large public meeting room with a divider and extra floor space to accommodate an expanding collection was added, as more houses and shops were built.

The rotunda which covers the entrances to the library and community hall was donated to the Caloundra City Council by Kawana Shopping World Centre Management in July 1988.

The rotunda had previously been a fixture in the shopping centre car park.

On 14 October 1989 the Kawana Community Hall was official opened.

In June 2016, the library gained a new modern style with updated furnishings, shelving and technology, designed to meet changing community needs.

Today Sunshine Coast Libraries offer free membership across eight branches and two modern mobile libraries. There is access to free Wi-Fi, recreational and information services and a specialist Heritage Library in Nambour Library.

Sunshine Coast Libraries are one of council’s most visible and highly utilised services within the Sunshine Coast community.

This service provides access to a diverse range of collections, services and activities that support intellectual, educational and creative development for people of all ages.

If you haven’t been to a library recently, take some time to visit Kawana Library in its 30th year, or drop into your local library branch to discover all there is on offer.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image details

Hero: Kawana Library and Community Hall, ca 1990.

Image 1: Children boarding the first school bus to leave Buddina to take them to school in Maroochydore, ca 1970. Taken in Parkana Crescent showing the first Kawana Estate Office (right) and the adjacent shop which was built in 1968 on the site of the present Surfside Local store.

Image 2: Official opening of the Kawana Community Centre by the Caloundra City Mayor Donald Aldous, 5 August 1989.

Image 3: Principal and students on the opening day of the Kawana Waters State High School, 28 January 1986. The school was officially opened by the then Minister for Education, Hon. L. W. Powell, on 11 October 1986.

Image 4: View of canal development showing Buddina and Kawana areas created by Kawana Estates Pty. Ltd., ca 1965.

Image 5: Official opening of Kawana Waters State High School by the Minister for Education, Hon. L. W. Powell, 11 October 1986. Prior to the officical opening, the School commenced on Tuesday 28 January 1986 with 194 year eight students and Bill Sperring as Principal.

Image 6: Sunshine Coast Bus in Point Cartwright Drive, Buddina, 1970s.

Image 7: Kawana Library interior following refurbishment, 2016.

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