In April 2007, the members of the Coolum Beach Progress and Ratepayers Association voted to change the name to the Coolum Residents Association (CRA). The CRA continues a long tradition of local organisations that have aimed to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to Coolum for more than 100 years.
Some of the key milestones and achievements of the CRA and its predecessor organisations (extracted from "An Island Surrounded by Land - The history of an earlier Coolum" by Frances and John Windolf (2004)) are outlined below.
· 1915 Coolum Progress Association formed to establish the Coolum School of Arts where fundraising events were undertaken to support a local school. The Coolum Provisional School was officially opened on 2 April 1917.
· 1934 The Coolum Progress Association separated from the Coolum Canegrowers Association, and started work on the public camping ground (todays caravan park) which the Association managed for many years.
· 1933 and 1937 The Progress Association planted the Norfolk Island pine trees along the waterfront that are still enjoyed today.
· 1946 The Progress Association purchased a block of land on The Esplanade on which the Coolum Beach Memorial School of Arts was constructed and opened in June 1950.
· 1956 Coolum Beach was finally provided with an electricity power supply following years of lobbying and advocacy by the Progress Association. In 1956 the Progress Association also fought to protect Coolum’s beaches and frontal dunes from sand mining. This fight continued up to the late 1960s.
· 1960’s The Progress Association struggled against a lack of interest and investment in the area. For example, by 1966 there was still no reticulated water supply, clogged drains, poor effluent disposal and so on. The perceived lack of interest from Maroochy Shire Council led to low community morale.
· 1972 The Coolum Beach Progress and Ratepayers Association (CBPRA) was formed at a meeting in October 1972, although the first official meeting appears to have been held in June 1975.
· 1970’s This was a period of significant growth and change for Coolum, and many of the issues that had been highlighted by the Progress Association during the previous decade were finally addressed. These changes included an automatic telephone exchange in June 1971, a reticulated water supply in December 1972, and the Coolum Civic Centre in November 1976. CBPRA began agitating for enhanced community services including a fire station which opened in 1976, an ambulance station in September 1978, and a dedicated police station in October 1983.
· 1980’s to now Coolum Beach and surrounding areas have continued to experience high levels of growth and development, and CBPRA expanded its focus to include preserving the area’s natural beauty and village-like amenity from inappropriate forms of development including high rise development along The Esplanade, and a proposed chair lift and tourist complex on Mt Coolum. During this period CBPRA also supported other local community groups advocating for expansion and upgrading the Primary School, and the provision of a local high school. Coolum State High School opened in January 1985.
· CBPRA initiated the Coolum Boardwalk proposal in 2000 under a committee headed by Dr David Simons which, to satisfy fund raising requirements, formed a separate incorporated body to deliver the boardwalk.
· 2007 CRA replaces CBPRA, and continues to advocate for the Coolum community and to protect the natural environment. See here for a list of CRA’s current priority projects.