Again from Peter:
Australia’s surfer’s Paradise has long had a unique approach to parking. In 1965 in response to concerns that parking meters introduced in 1964 would damage trade Local business man Bernard Elsey hired some local girls to patrol the streets as Meter Maids wearing gold bikinis. Bernard felt that getting a parking ticket would put visitors off and so the girl’s mission was to top up any meters that had expired. Their early reception was not all positive; one early girl was disinherited by her grandmother who was outraged by her appearing in public wearing such a skimpy costume.
In 1967, the Gold Coast was battered by cyclones causing catastrophic damage to the area. The then Mayor and Meter Maids campaigned to get people back to the beaches and within weeks they had attracted national and worldwide publicity establishing the girls as a part of the region’s culture and attracting both visitors and aspiring meter maids from all over the world. Now however it looks as if a combination of technology and political correctness may finally end a 50 year plus tradition. The advent of the pay and display machine has removed the original raison d’être for the girls and although there are plans to keep the girls as local tourist ambassadors the killjoys at the tourism authority seem to have issues with the bikinis. It just won’t be the same.