The first Europeans to arrive in the Gold Coast were mostly timber getters. They were responsible for cutting and shipping local cedar to other emerging cities in Australia, such as Sydney and Brisbane. At the time, Brisbane was mostly known as a convict settlement.
In its earlier years, the Gold Coast was quite popular as a place for timber, farms and cattle. Sugar farms, cotton farms, and dairy farms were some of the most common features of the region.
As time went on, the permanent population of the region gradually increased. By 1925, there was a boom in real estate and tourism because of a new coastal road built between Brisbane and Southport, as well as the development of the Surfers Paradise Hotel. The hotel was built in an area between the Nerang River and Elston beach. By 1933, the town of Elston was changed to Surfers Paradise.