Southport is a suburb and a business district near the mid-point of the Gold Coast, Australia and has one of the city's largest communities. It was named Southport because it was the southernmost port of the colony of Queensland. Southport is recognised as the central business district of the City of Gold Coast. It has the city’s largest area of office space at 103,818 m². In the past, Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. In current times it is set apart from the normal tourist hub of the Gold Coast. However, it has still experienced tourist-driven development and extraordinary growth. Southport has 18 high-rise towers either completed, under construction or awaiting commencement.
By Federation Southport had become a tourist seaside spot and had a permanent population of 1230. In 1898 a railway track was built from Brisbane to Southport to accommodate tourism (closed 1964). A ferry service - the Myer's Ferry connection - ferried passengers to Main Beach, Queensland and a horse and buggy service linked the area to Surfers Paradise. Tourism continued to expand in the first half of the century. The construction of the Jubilee Bridge in 1926 between Southport and Main Beach replaced the ferry service and facilitated further growth. By the 50's Southport was the central entertainment location of the Gold Coast. It was also the administrative center, with a central business district.
Australia Fair Shopping Centre, located in the old Southport CBD, is a large indoor shopping centre containing 233 stores and a Senstadium Cinema. It was established in 1983 on the site of the former milk factory and is home to the major northern bus interchange for the Gold Coast. The opening of the Southport strip mall (the old CBD, located adjacent to the shopping centre) to low-speed through traffic has been a controversial local decision.
The Gold Coast Hospital, the only public-only hospital on the Gold Coast, is located in Southport. The surrounding area has been substantially redeveloped, and now includes a number of private medical practices. In 2005, Griffith University commenced teaching dentistry and medicine at a new building on land adjacent to Gold Coast Hospital. The state government has announced that a new Gold Coast Hospital will be constructed opposite the main Griffith University campus at Parklands. Plans for the existing hospital site are not yet clear, but general speculation is that it will become a private hospital.
Nearby the Gold Coast Hospital is the large new branch of the Southport Gold Coast Library, which was previously located on the top floor of the Australia Fair Shopping Centre. The Southport Branch Library was completed in 2002 and is one of 14 branches of the City's library. Upstairs in the same building is the Local Studies branch library which includes the City's historical collection of materials including documents, photographs, films, advertising and iconic objects and memorabilia
St Hilda's School, which was founded in 1911, is located opposite the Hospital and is the only all-girls school on the Gold Coast.
Southport is home to The Southport School, which was once the largest boarding school in Queensland. The School was founded in 1901 and has a well-known clock tower and chapel. It is also one of the few schools in Australia where cadet service is mandatory.
A ferry terminal is planned for a new Pier to be constructed along the Southport Mall alignment.
The Gold Coast Rapid Transit project is looking at two possible routes through the Southport CBD.