Ocean Shores as it looks today.
Ocean Shores as it looks today. BILL MILLS

Seaside town onto greener pastures

NOT that long ago, Ocean Shores was an empty expanse of cow paddocks by the sea.

Today, it’s a thriving town of about 6000 people – the second largest in the Byron Shire – attracting a steady stream of new residents each year.

It was originally planned as a resort-style town by international developers Wendell West (a company associated with American singer Pat Boone) and was promoted as a clean, fresh, new beginning ‘far away from the way you’re living now, but well within your reach.’

This year marks 40 years since the doors of the estate’s new sales and administration office (known as the roundhouse) opened, and locals past and present will get together at the weekend to celebrate the milestone.

A birthday lunch will be held at the Ocean Shores Country Club on Sunday and will feature a continuous display of photos, videos and information on the history of the town.

Organiser Jan Mangleson, of the Ocean Shores Community Association, said the aim was to put the spotlight on the formation of the town and its heritage.

Many of the town’s long-term residents will be there, including Jan Larracy, now of Wooyung, who lived in the first house at Ocean Shores.

Mrs Larracy and her then husband, Robert Rowley, bought a block of land in the late 1960s for about $4500 and built in what is now known as Kanandah Court

“There was nothing at Ocean Shores then,” she said.

“No facilities – not even proper roads. We couldn’t even drive into our garage because of the boulders on the road – we used to have to stop at the roundhouse and walk across the paddocks with our groceries.”

Eighteen months after building their house, someone else built around the corner. Her husband quipped ‘it’s getting crowded around here.’

Over the years, Mrs Larracy saw the cow paddocks transformed into the hundreds of homes that exist today. And although she no longer lives in town, she regularly returns to visit friends and play golf. She has many happy memories and is looking forward to catching up with old friends on Sunday.

– Ocean Shores 40th birthday barbecue lunch will be held at the Ocean Shores Country Club on Sunday from midday. Bookings are still open and can be made by phoning Jan on 6680 1108 or Donna on 6680 3137. Cost is $20 per adult, $5 per child.



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