Jim Cavill (James Freeman Cavill) was born in England and arrived in Elston, which was later renamed Surfers Paradise, in 1923. He purchased 25 acres of land on the corner of Meyers-Ferry Road and the Pacific Highway.
Taking advantage of improved travel options at the time and the construction of the Jubilee Bridge across the Nerang River, Jim built a timber hotel which provided some of the best accommodation in the area. This hotel burnt down in 1935 and was rebuilt within a year.
The second hotel became a well-recognised and much loved centre piece of Surfers Paradise. Rather than just building a hotel, Jim planted extensive gardens, built cabin accommodation and created a zoo that was considered one of the best private zoos in Australia.
In 1945 the road fronting the hotel was renamed Cavill Avenue and, in addition to having one of the most famous streets in the City named after him, a small park located at the western end of Cavill Avenue also bears his name. The Surfers Paradise Hotel was demolished in 1987 to make way for the Paradise Centre.
Jim Cavill is credited as being responsible for the naming of Surfers Paradise and was an active in founding the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club in 1929.
He passed away on 5 March 1952 and is buried in Southport Cemetery.
Sources of information and further reading
- “Surfers Paradise Gala Night.” South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1929 – 1949) 1 Oct 1937: 4. Web. 6 Jan 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133672036
- “Jim Cavill Made It World Famous.” The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) 6 Mar 1952: 3. Web. 6 Jan 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50317503
- “Rags to Riches: Uncrowned King of Surfers.” Warwick Daily News (Qld. : 1919 -1954) 26 Oct 1951: 5. Web. 6 Jan 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191831877
- “Change of Name.” South Coast Bulletin (Southport, Qld. : 1929 – 1949) 30 Jun 1933: 1. Web. 6 Jan 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133774194
- Fischer, Pat. Cavill, James Freeman (Jim) (1867–1952). http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cavill-james-freeman-jim-9713 Accessed 7/01/2016.