The Sapphire Coast: sparkling for 55 years

Date/Time
Date(s) - 01/11/2014 - 02/11/2014
9:15 am to 3:45 pm

Location
Eden Killer Whale Museum

Category(ies)

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Artwork reproduced from the Shire of Imlay’s 1959 brochure. Eden Killer Whale Museum Collection

Artwork reproduced from the Shire of Imlay’s 1959 brochure. Eden Killer Whale Museum Collection

Today some 70-plus community groups and businesses contain part, or the entire Sapphire Coast name in their branding, but when did this begin?

In 1958, Imlay Shire Council proposed distributing 20,000 tourist brochures across Victoria and

New South Wales and it was felt that catchy name (like Queensland’s Gold Coast) was needed to promote the coast from Tathra to the Victorian Border.  In January the following year they launched a free-to-enter competition, with a £10 prize for the winner.  Around 250 entries were received, not only from local residents but also from holidaymakers from Victoria and Sydney.  The Sapphire Coast was most favoured by council, and was nominated by four separate entrants – one local and three interstate entries.  To decide a winner, the entrant names were placed in a hat with the winner being Mrs J Ward of Merimbula.

However it wasn’t until March that council formally adopted the brand name – and not without some disagreement amongst councillors. Some felt the Far South Coast remained appropriate, and as it was already well known, should be retained.  As the Far South Coast included towns outside of the boundaries of the Shire of Imlay, the majority felt that a more distinguishable name should be used to promote its coastal attractions.

In 1981, three local government bodies (Mumbulla Shire, Bega Municipality and Imlay Shire Council) amalgamated to form what continues to be known today as Bega Valley Shire Council.  It’s because of this extension of boundaries that the Sapphire Coast now includes the townships north of Tathra to Bermagui and Cobargo.

On until the end of next summer, this new Eden Killer Whale Museum display looks at the evolution of the branding of the Sapphire Coast.

Find out more about the museum here.