Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Published Version.

O'Hare, D. (2008). Missing the Gold Coast train? The interaction between private development and three levels of government planning in attempting to co-locate a new railway station and a major new town centre. Paper presented at the International Planning History Society (IPHS) 13th biennial conference: Public versus private planning: Themes, trends and tensions, Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Access the conference website.

2008 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 1205

© Copyright Daniel O'Hare, 2008


Queensland’s Gold Coast was established as a collection of coastal tourist resorts by the late 19th century. Private development was stimulated in the conventional way, by State government provision of public transport. The main resort areas flourished due to easy public access via two railway lines from the State capital Brisbane. During the 20th century a much larger network of Gold Coast holiday resorts and retirement suburbs was created due to the greater mobility allowed by increasing car ownership. By the 1960s, the original Gold Coast railway lines were removed, with their corridors eventually being redeveloped for a mix of private development and publicly funded motorways. By the 1990s, the Gold Coast was well advanced in its transformation into a city region, as a major part of the rapidly urbanizing South East Queensland. In 1997, a new Gold Coast Railway was developed by the Queensland State Government, with funding assistance by the Commonwealth Government via its Building Better Cities program. This public investment in transport infrastructure coincided with the private development of a ‘master planned community’ at Robina, including a major town centre intended to become the Gold Coast’s second ‘CBD’.

This paper investigates the reasons for the Robina Railway Station being so isolated (one kilometer) from the Robina Town Centre, despite the two being planned, designed and developed simultaneously. The separation of the two – and the deviation from accepted planning principles – has received significant informal criticism, but there is currently no cohesive public explanation or critique available. Methods for the investigation include documentary research and key informant interviews. This research will have value in increasing the understanding of deviations between planning principles and development outcomes, and our understanding of the interactions between private and public planning (at three levels of government) in the creation of urban centres and transport nodes at the turn of the 21st century.



This document has been peer reviewed.