Updated: Jul 12
The Courier Mail Sun Girl Quest began in 1950/51with competitions held in major coastal Queensland towns and in northern New South Wales. The Quests continued until the mid 1960's with funds raised going to the Surf Lifesaving Clubs of Queensland.
The annual Ambulance Picnic was first held at Suttons Beach in the 1930s and large 60 0000 crowds were common for the event that attracted tourists and day trippers from all over South East Queensland and it was held annually until 1938.
After the WW2, there were Miss Australia Quest events held at Suttons Beach from the mid 1940's:
Brisbane Telegraph Monday 6th December 1948:
Featuring photos of Claire Downes (Miss Redcliffe) Dorothy Myers (Miss Kedron) Shirley Horsley (Miss Ambulance Beenleigh) Iris Phillips (Miss Woollen Mills Ipswich) Shirley Knox (Miss Moorooka) Barbara Larter ( Miss Ipswich) June Hayes (Miss Cleveland)
Florence Meath (Brisbane) Joyce Norris (Toowong) Claire Roache and Loretta Kluck (Scarborough)
Sunday Mail. Sunday 31st Dec 1950 - Page 6 :
"MEET THE SUNDAY MAIL SUN GIRLS. They are top of the class. By NELSON BURNS.
Have Queensland girls ever been more beautiful than today. After three days visiting, the seaside resorts of the South Coast and Bay; beaches, the answer is 'NO!' — definitely. Some sage once declared that, beauty was only skin deep. I agree. But I would like a psycho-analyst to tell me why there is such a healthy beauty to our sunny beach girls. The answer lies more than skin deep. Perhaps it could be found in our better living conditions, the encouragement of open-air life, our love of athletics." "SHAME SOUTH The beaches are dotted with splendid girls who would shame Bondi, Manly, and Lorne, which is Victoria's fashionable watering place. Long-limbed, straight-backed girls with the easy grace of healthy femininity, against a backdrop of sparkling sands, white-topped combers, and sunlit skies, make a pleasant picture in any light. I was dropped on to this colourful canvas to conduct (in association with June Dally-Watkins, a Sydney model, and director of deportment), The Sunday Mail Sun Girl Search. The assignment was difficult. Surrounded by beauty and physical attractiveness, the problem was not which girl to select, but rather which girl to by-pass."
"LIFE-SAVERS' AID The fine support of members of surf life-saving clubs helped me considerably. The spirit of friendly beach rivalry already is apparent, and there is much conjecture as to who will win the £30 prize in The Sunday Mail Sun Girl Search. The second girl will receive £15, and the surf life-saving club at the beach from which the winning girl is selected will be given £10. To-day, with Miss June Dally-Watkins and the State Country Party Leader (Mr. Frank Nicklin), who is North Coast branch president of the Surf Life-Saving Association, I will visit Alexandra Headland and Mooloolaba."
"MY VIEW. By JUNE DALLY-WATKINS.
My first impression of young Queensland womanhood is one of outstanding natural beauty of face and figure. She is frank, too, with just that slight trace of shyness which is not often found in the modern girl. When it is, however, it is superlatively attractive. I could not help noticing that the greatest number of attractive girls I met were short in stature, with very compact figures. Many were careless of deportment which, in my opinion, is so very important to a young woman in a swimsuit."
"MORE NATURAL: My profession calls for Interviewing prospective models and mannequins. The sun girl search has given me the opportunity to make a comparison between Queensland and southern girls. As far as natural, wholesome beauty Is concerned. Queensland girls more than hold their own. Southern girls, however, have more glamour and grooming."
In 1953 the Sun Girl Quest was held at Suttons Beach and it attracted a crowd of 12 000
on the day to watch 17yr old Jill Glindemann take the title:
Courier Mail - Monday 12th January 1953:
"12 000 SEE THE SUNGIRLS"
"More than 12 000 watched The Sunday Mail Sun Girl Quest judging at Sutton's Beach, Redcliffe yesterday. This was the largest attendance at any of the 17 beaches judged so far in this 20 beach quest. The judges yesterday were the Mayor and Mayoress of Redcliffe (Ald. and Mrs.Bradley) and Mr Frank Garnsey of the Sunday Mail. The winners from 22 entrants were:
Jill Glindemann, 17, Clerk of Holland Park, 1, Yvonne Byrne, 21, telephonist of Redcliffe, 2, and Dorothy Thompson, 20, employee of Kodak Ltd. of Kedron, 3.
Mr David Nicholson (CP Murrumba) presented the Sunday Mail Sun Girl sashes and open orders for £5/5, £3/3 and £2/2 from Plavers Sportwear to the winners."
Jill Glindemann , 17yrs, Clerk of Holland Park was the winner of the 1953 Sunday Mail Sun Girl Quest at Suttons Beach Redcliffe.
Jill also won the the 1954 Queensland section of the "Coral Sea Quest".
The Courier Mail Wednesday 29 December 1954:
"Maureen Dodd, 19 of Manly won the Manly section of the Sunday Mail Sun Girl Quest.
Yvonne Byrne , 23 of Redcliffe won the Redcliffe section of the Quest at Suttons Beach.":
Central Queensland Herald 20th January 1955:
"Twenty-one-year-old Janice Cridland, of Maryborough, won the final of the 1954-55 Sunday Mail's Sun Girl Contest at Suttons Beach, Redcliffe today. Maurine Dodd, 19 of Manly, Lota was placed second and Jill Glindemann, 19 of Brisbane third. The 16 finalists in the quest represented beaches as far north as Cairns and south to Brunswick Heads. A crowd of
50 000 watched the judging."
1956/57 Sun Girls Quest State Finals were held at Suttons Beach:
1958 Sun Girls Quest State Finals were held at Suttons Beach:
Photo Jack Nolan:
Photo Jack Nolan:
The winner of the Sun Girl Quest held at Suttons Beach in 1959 was Tracey Knudsen, 18yrs of Bardon in Brisbane, who was a state school teacher at Indooroopilly and had won her heat at Kirra on the Gold Coast.
Her prize was a Ford Zephyr car, 100 pound wardrobe, a modelling course, makeup and other prizes. She was immediately recruited by Channel 7 to take part in its opening broadcast, and became the "It" girl of the day. She won the Miss Queensland Quest and a Logie the following year.
Good Neighbour - Friday 1st March 1963- Page 3:
"For the first time in the history of a popular Queensland beauty contest, believed to be the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, migrant girls have taken first and second awards. Winner of the 1962-63 Sunday Mail Sun Girl quest was Dutch-born Louisa van Deurzen, 18, who came to Australia in 1955, and runner-up was Marita Fagerstorm, 17, who migrated from Sweden four years ago.
Another two new settlers were among the quest's 17 finalists, chosen from 278 girls on 17 Queensland and northern New South Wales beaches stretched along more than 1,400 miles of coastline. Louisa's first prize included a new sedan car and 12 other gifts ranging from a wardrobe of top fashion clothes to a television test and free driving tuition. Marita won a cash award of £30 and six other prizes. The quest final was held at Sutton's Beach, Redcliffe, near Brisbane. More than 8,000 people watched the final judging. Third time was lucky for Louisa van Deurzen. She was third In last year's Sun Girl contest and was also a Brisbane finalist In the 1962 Miss Australia competition.
ABOVE: Louisa van Deurzen (left), the contest winner, and Marita Fagerstorm who was second, after the contest."
A page from the book "The Pictorial History Of Redcliffe 1950-1980s":
Redcliffe Sungirls facebook page is at:
The Redcliffe Ambulance Picnic and Sungirls are displayed in the Redcliffe Wall of Fame in the Jetty Arcade in Redcliffe.