PARTY TIME: Pialba Place staff and visitors will celebrate the centre’s 30th birthday today with a plethora of events.
PARTY TIME: Pialba Place staff and visitors will celebrate the centre’s 30th birthday today with a plethora of events. Alistair Brightman

30 YEARS: Pialba Place changed the face of local shopping

A STUDY in 1987 revealed that more than $50 million a year was being spent outside of the Fraser Coast because there was no major shopping centre in the region.

So imagine the excitement of residents when then-mayor Judy Rice officially opened the 7065sqm Pialba Place Shopping Centre, with 33 speciality stores, including Rockmans ladies' fashion, which is the only original store still operating in the centre.

Now 30 years on, community relations officer Jo Tempelman said Pialba Place had continued to grow in popularity and size.

"It is the only shopping centre that has been in the region that long and it's been a big part of the community," Ms Tempelman said.

"No one can believe it has been here for 30 years.

"The centre's major tenant was Coles New World Extra Supermarket, which was the first of its kind in Queensland."

At the time of opening, a newspaper clipping described the $14 million centre as "a new world", stating "it's new, it's welcome and it's coming of age - a city by the sea".

With Big W, the external link walkway, underground car park and popular playground added in 2008, Ms Tempelman said the centre had grown to cover 15,685sqm.

"We are still the only centre with an underground car park in the Bay and I think that's why people really love us - it's the convenience," she said.

"We are a great local centre and it's not owned by a major corporation."

With free school holiday workshops every year and the free playground, Ms Tempelman said one of management's main priorities outside of the shopping experience was priding itself on community spirit.

"The big thing we hear people say is that we do free things for the family and it doesn't cost families," she said.

"We understand that people have tight pockets around the region.

"A big day will be Saturday, December 2, when Santa will be coming and families can have free photos taken."

The Fraser Coast community is invited to help celebrate the centre's 30th birthday on Thursday, November 23, from 10am-2pm.

There will be giveaways and prizes, including gift baskets for the first 30 Coles shoppers, $10 dresses from Go Girl and 30 per cent off everything at Rockmans.

Check out the Wide Bay Rodders cars on display from 9-9.30am, performances by Soundwaves A'Cappella at 10.45am, Hervey Bay Dance School from 11.30am-noon and Mansong from 1-1.30pm.

Mayor Chris Loft will cut the cake at 11am.



  • Coles New World was the first of its kind to open in the region and Queensland
  • The centre opened on November 23, 1987 Maryborough CES job centre employed 16 permanents and 143 casuals to work on Saturdays Because more than 1000 people had applied for the jobs, six CES job centre staff from Maryborough and others from Gladstone set up a temporary headquarters in order to interview everyone
  • In 1981, Hervey Bay's population was 13,569 and grew to 22,205 by 1991. Hervey Bay now has 53,035 residents