The history of St George's Defence Holiday Suites
On the 7th of June 1915, The Reverend Canon David John Garland established a fund known as the Soldiers Church of England Help Society to raise money for the work of the church in camps so as to provide social and recreational entertainment for soldiers of all denominations, to assist the work of the Chaplains at the front lines and to help returning soldiers to resume a normal life after their return from The Great War.
In 1916, the fund acquired a parcel of land between Coolangatta and Snapper Rocks on the shores of Rainbow Bay.
Tents were erected and soldiers could seek respite there before departure for the war. Later, in 1918, two large sheds were built to provide accommodation for wounded soldiers recuperating after hospital treatment and a place where others could seek respite: Thousands did.
Between the wars, the "Sailors and Soldiers Rest Home", as it became known, welcomed servicemen of all faiths for short holidays. Maintenance was supported by an active committee and a group of generous volunteers drawn from the communities of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.
In 1939, the house was painted and plumbed for hot water. The work of ministering to the needs of returned soldiers continued after the war and tens of thousands of servicemen spent time at St George's.
In June 1954 the new holiday house, named "St George's Holiday House" was opened by the Chair of the Queensland Patriotic Fund, Sir John Chandler. A second stage was completed in 1958 and a third in 1961. The total cost was 54,000 Pounds. Apart from major refurbishments between 1992 and 1999, St George's Holiday House remained much the same until demolition started in 2015 to make way for the new building, to be completed in 2016.
A decision to replace the old buildings with a new modern facility was taken in 2014 and demolition of the old buildings commenced in Feb 2015.
The Garland building, incorporating StGeorge's Defence Holiday Suites opened in December 2016. Our suites are located on the three lower floors and are self-contained, however there are significant indoor and outdoor community areas where we hope the spirit of the old StGeorge's will be replicated.