HistoryLocal history: outdoor skating rink a grand memory

Local history: outdoor skating rink a grand memory

nielson park skating
The outdoor skating rink at Nielson Park in 1957. Photo donated to Picture Bundaberg by RW Nash

The Nielson Park outdoor skating rink in Bargara was the entertainment venue to be and be seen from the 1940s onwards.

This rink was opened by Norm and Herb Spence in 1947.

It was later sold to Ernest Ward in 1975 and closed in the late 1990s.

A photograph of the rink in 1957, donated to Bundaberg Regional Libraries Picture Bundaberg register by RW Nash has circulated on social media, with many locals recalling their fondest memories of the popular arena.

“Brings back a lot of memories … those were the days,” Lesley Biskup said on the Bundaberg Regional Libraries Facebook page.

“The cars used to park around the outside of the rink. We looked forward to going skating on Sunday night.”

Trevor Scott said heading down to the rink every week was always a fun, family outing for himself and his siblings.

“When I got my driver's license I would drive to Bargara from Gooburrum every Thursday night with my younger brother and sister to skate,” he said.

“Then joined a roller hockey team. A lot of bruises, a lot of fun.”

Nielson Park skating
The Nielson Park entry. Photo donation to Picture Bundaberg by John Wood.

The skating rink was part of the early development of Nielson Park, which was once part of Barolin Station and later a 1200 acre pasture reserve.

Woongarra Shire Council designated a large portion of this reserve as Nielson Park in 1912.

From about 1914, the Council started to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The Council used to operate free excursion trains to Nielson Park, and after a drowning at the beach in 1916, a team of “proficient swimmers” also travelled by the trains to look out for the public.

The free travel ceased in 1918 when the State Government took over the rail line.

This prompted the formation of the Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club which has its headquarters at Nielson Park.

Other memories of Nielson Park include the regular Railway Picnics from approximately 1922-72.

Nielson Park skating
Crowds at Nielson Park beach in 1960.