Chinese Culture comes to town

The Year of the Horse has the newly crowned Gold Coast CBD of Southport galloping into the future, and at the centre of it all will be the city’s newest destination, Chinatown.

Master-planned to be world class, it will be a stylish place for multi-cultural celebration and a marker of a more sophisticated Southport.

The focus may be modern, but Chinatown represents a culmination of the city’s Chinese connections that stretch back more than a century.

“It’s going to be new and exciting, a centre-point for locals and an attraction for the many visitors who come here and ask where our Chinatown is. It will be a coming of age for the city,” says Debby Lo-Dean, marketing officer for the Gold Coast Chinese Club.

With her uncle Ted Fong (Tat Yin Fong) Chair of Gold Coast Chinatown Association, Debby is passionately supportive of the Chinatown project that has been a point of discussion since the 90’s.

“The (then) Mayor Lex Bell, an architect and myself discussed plans for Chinatown, but we couldn’t get support back then,” Mr Fong said.

“I think it will be a very big success now, with a lot of interest from property developers.”

Fast-forward 20 years and Chinatown’s time has come and with it the opportunity for people’s perceptions of China, and Asian culture in general, to catch up with the modern reality.

“I think people will be surprised at the beautiful aesthetic and atmosphere, because we need to cater to the large number of young Asian students who want something more trendy, as well as Chinese visitors and locals with sophisticated tastes,” said Ms Lo Dean.

Stage one streetscaping includes cultural embellishments and distinctive Paifangs (gateways) to be installed over time as the precinct evolves and business owners are supported to transition into Chinatown.

The streetscape was designed following a full Feng Shui analysis and with a nod to traditional Chinese garden design.

A $6.8 million budget is set to deliver quality design elements, yin and yang landscaping, and a flexible, vibrant space for festivals and events.

Main of the design cues come from the Gold Coast’s sister cities Beihai and Zhuhai in China, and Taipei and Tainan in Taiwan.

As the planning and investment come to fruition, the Gold Coast hopes to capitalise on its already rich cultural heritage and connections, in what has been dubbed the Asian century.

Excerpt of story reprinted with kind permission from Full story available at