The Pink Poodle Motel was built by Stewart and Lawrence Price and Hugh and May (Billie) Woods on the Gold Coast Highway and opened its doors on Boxing Day 1967.
Billie Woods had visited a coffee shop in the USA called the Pink Poodle and the name had appealed to her so much that she suggested it for their new motel.
The motel changed hands numerous times during the 1970s and 1980s until, in 1987, it was bought by Ivan and Katarina Bulat who also established Katarina’s Restaurant on the site.
In 1987 the motel and the neon signs were redesigned, but the sign retained the styling elements of the original and remains one of the few surviving pieces of neon artwork linked to the 1960s development period on the Gold Coast.
Katarina sold the motel in 2001 and an amalgamation of land was created for the corner site by the new owners. The motel was demolished in 2004, but elements of the original hotel were kept in the subsequent site redevelopment. These included a pink poodle design on a terrazzo floor insert, the neon sign and the arched facade.
The famous pink poodle neon sign was nominated for heritage listing as a Queensland’s Heritage Icon by the National Trust of Queensland in 2005.
In 2015, a picture of the sign appeared on an Australian Postage stamp.
Over time the neon sign has been moved a few times in response to development, the most recent being relocating the in Fern Street, away from the hightway, as a result of the impact of the Light Rail.
Sources of information and further reading
- Gold Coast Local Heritage Register http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/gc-local-heritage-register-n-z.pdf
- “Badalotti collars motel.” Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin, 17-18 Feb 2001, p. 5.
- “The way we were.” Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin, 9-10 Apr 2002, p. 4.