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In 2009, a group of local Southport businesses and individuals developed a plan to create a Chinatown in Southport. In 2011 this group formed the Gold Coast Chinatown Association and successfully gained support for the concept with both State and local Governments committing funds and resources to develop the precinct in 2013.
At the time Young and Davenport Streets were described as ‘lacking uniformity, tired, daggy and unattractive’ but today in contrast, the character of the street is vibrant, contemporary and reflective of modern and traditional Asian design.
Gold Coast Chinatown Precinct Plan
Grant funding was provided by the State Government to develop the Gold Coast Chinatown Precinct Plan in conjunction with the association, local Chinese community, Sister Cities and local businesses and property owners. The Precinct Plan was developed in consultation with Feng Shui experts and includes streetscape and embellishment design, retail and events strategies, plus investment attraction activities and management.
Download the Gold Coast Chinatown Precinct Plan (PDF).
The streetscape was specifically designed to hold large scale events and construction commenced in 2014. The works included widened footpaths, new footpath and street lighting, landscaping reflecting Feng Shui principals, event power and water connections, upgrades to underground services, undergrounding of overhead power lines and flush kerb and channels.
Once the streetscape works were complete, cultural embellishments have been installed overtime to ensure our Chinatown is rooted in tradition but reflects a modern Asia aesthetic. These include:
The street furniture references the Chinese dragon, a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. The patterns created by the flow of water over sand in the Broadwater also form a link to the scales and movement of the dragon, a reptilian pattern re-surfacing throughout the Gold Coast. These patterns have been carved into the granite furniture suite. The seats are fashioned to represent Chinese rice bowls and tea cups and polished brass has been used to reference gold, which is considered the most beautiful and auspicious colour in Chinese culture as well as being a direct reference to the Gold Coast.
Three Paifang gateways mark the entries to the heart of Chinatown and represent the City’s relationship with our Chinese sister cities and partner organisations. Each gateway represent the Feng Shui meanings of Harmony, Harvest and Wealth.
Beihai City provided the conceptual design for the Harmony and Harvest Paifangs renown with the Han Dynasty, which has over 2,000 years of history. The Paifang’s forms two towers that mark the eastern and western entrances to Chinatown.
The Wealth Paifang is the third and final gate and will be completed prior to Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Lanterns and projection imagery
The lanterns reflect the Feng Shui colours of Gold Coast Chinatown, being: Red – Wealth, Gold – Double Happiness, Blue – Harmony and Green – Harvest. The patterns on the lanterns are inspired by fireworks, the explosive sequences of light and colour that are a traditional celebration of many Chinese festivals. Red knots at the base of the large red lanterns and the gold lanterns are inspired by Chinese knots traditionally used in festivals.
In conjunction with UAP’s China and Australia offices, the lanterns were designed by artist Belinda Smith, and projection artwork (Chinese streetscape and real street life imagery) were designed by artists Belinda Smith and Alexander Adam, with photography by Jamie Perrow.
Confucius – overseeing the entirety of Chinatown is the great Chinese philosopher Confucius, which was donated to the City by Jining City in Shandong Province, the birthplace of Confucius.
Pandamonium – is half panda and half koala reflecting the similarities between China and Australia’s national icons – both irresistible and vulnerable. “Pandamonium” was designed by artists David Renn and John Cox as part of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation’s “Animals with Attitude Sculpture Trail”. The statue was donated by Mr Ted Fong, Executive President of the Gold Coast Chinese Club Inc and founding member and Chairman of Gold Coast Chinatown Association.
Other artwork, both ephemeral and permanent, will continue to appear as Chinatown evolves.