The Beach Shacks of Australia’s Yesteryears

This post comes from our Australia contributor, Miann Scanlan. Follow along with her on Instagram @freepeopleaustralia

I believe I belong in the de-saturated photographs of the ’70s.

I feel more like a child of decades past than one of the current digital age. At home, I surround myself with secondhand retro furniture, always opting for the pieces covered in rust, chipped paint, and scratches that feel like they have stories to tell. I cover my white modern tiled floors in vintage kilim rugs, posters of old-school babes like Robert Redford and Paul Newman adorn my walls, while Neil Young, the Doors, and The Velvet Underground play on repeat.

I grip tightly to the old days in most facets of my life, paying homage to a past I wasn’t even a part of. I live in a quiet pocket of the southern Gold Coast, a sleepy part of town where the pace seems just a little bit slower. Girls with year-round sun-kissed skin soak up the sun on the sand. Boys with long golden locks and tanned barefeet pile single-fin retro surfboards into their old classic station wagons that conveniently double as mobile homes. Candy-colored fibro beach houses, otherwise known as ‘beach shacks’, are scattered around this part of town, their interiors stuck in a time-warp with pink and maroon tiles and ’70s shag carpet. But it’s the exteriors of these derelict, dilapidated, and ramshackle shantys that really speak to the nostalgic roots of the Gold Coast.

While they’re dwarfed by the new buildings and high-rises that surround them, they stand testament to the golden years. Retro ’50s and ’60s architecture and grassy front yards make it easy to imagine kids running crazy from sun up to sun down with no internet, no mobile phones, and no worries. It’s this simplicity and informality that are the hallmarks of these beach shacks which I am so fond of.













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8 years ago

Gorgeous photo editing and such classy and pretty architecture!

8 years ago

I’m a Byron bred girl living in Melbourne, and oh my god this makes me miss home! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing xx

8 years ago

Miann Scanlan – you’re a legend! These remind me of my hometown on Sydney’s beaches – lots of 70’s shacks lurking around complete with the sound of the ocean. Tooooo good.

8 years ago

I love the southern end of the Gold Coast. It still has the laid back vibe, and friendly locals. These pics are PERFECT!
Thanks for sharing!

Henry Ford
8 years ago

It’s the best article I’ve ever read in my entire life. And I am not exaggerating. It was like reading a book. I almost felt the breeze on my face and this retro atmosphere with all the children playing on the street all day long. I’m also fond of retro style and actually right now I’m working on a project to renovate my house in a retro style. It won’t be hard for me as I also live in Australia, Melbourne. And I also know these amazing handymen ( ) with whom I’ve worked with several times and I never regretted it. I’m sure they will bring the exact same retro atmosphere in my home.

Lisa Corbett
2 years ago

Gorgeous photos! I have just bought an old beach shack, and am trying to find an architect who can help me restore it ( it’s had a few dismal renos in it’s time) Can anyone recommend someone please? It is in New Brighton, northern New South Wales. Thanks

Valerie Muir
2 years ago

In the text you make reference to “candy coloured” but the pics shoe very pale creams and lemon. We have purchased a fibro beach place and are looking for inspiration for the exterior paint colour.unfortunately it does not have a butterfly roof.