HISTORIC: In its heyday, the Urangan Pier was a deepwater, cargo-handling facility built to facilitate the export of sugar, timber and coal.
HISTORIC: In its heyday, the Urangan Pier was a deepwater, cargo-handling facility built to facilitate the export of sugar, timber and coal. HERVEY BAY HISTORICAL VILLAGE

SPECIAL REPORT: How community action saved iconic Pier

IT'S hard to imagine that the Urangan Pier, used by thousands of visitors and locals each year, was once under threat of being completely demolished in the late 80s.

It was only thanks to local community groups and business owners who took a stand and fought against the governments plan, that the 868 metre icon still stands today.

The Fraser Lions Club was chartered in May 1986 and member Bruce Taylor recalls there was "big talk" surrounding the demolition in Hervey Bay at the time.

The Fraser Lions Club became part of the Save the Pier group and was involved with the running of the barbecue for the rally of followers in September that year.

"The government was going to dismantle the whole length of the pier and as a result of the objections they just took the head off the pier rather than the whole lot," Mr Taylor said.

"We wouldn't have what we've got at this present time ... we would have lost an icon, a great fishing spot and a great walking areas for visitors.

"There's not many tourists that come here without walking the full length of the pier.

"That's in the past and what the council and government have done to it now, it's definitely a great icon and hopefully won't ever be touched again."

Families have since gathered at the attraction for the past 33 years in celebration of the small but dedicated group's effort.

 

Pier Festival preview - Fraser Lions club members (L) John McIntosh, Lawrie West and Dennis Love.
Pier Festival preview - Fraser Lions club members (L) John McIntosh, Lawrie West and Dennis Love. Cody Fox

Now known as the Fraser Lions Pier Festival, Mr Taylor said thousands of people turn out for the family-orientated event each year.

He said the key ingredient to the event was a terrific mix of stalls, entertainment, food and drinks and the Hervey Bay Boat Club Fishing Club's fishing competition.

"We have a great variety of stalls each year and we also try and change our main attraction ... we've had a magician for the last few years but this year we are going to have baby dinosaurs amongst the crowd.

"There will also be a few snakes and dingoes; there's a really good bit of variety."

There will also be a jumping castle, merry-go-round and raffles, with 10 meat trays and 10 seafood trays up for the taking.

The Lions van will be serving hamburgers, hot chips and chicken and chips combos, with all funds raised from the van and the event going back to local community projects.

"The Pier Festival is the club's major fundraiser of the year and all the money we raise there eventually comes back to the community in some form."

Stall sites are still available and can be booked online at fraserlions.org or by phoning Lawrie West on 0448 358 289.

The Fraser Lions Pier Festival will be held this Sunday from 8am.



Cheap tickets up for grabs as Bay cinema reopens

premium_icon Cheap tickets up for grabs as Bay cinema reopens

The business is bouncing back from its COVID-19 closure

EXPLAINED: Why local companies lose council tenders

premium_icon EXPLAINED: Why local companies lose council tenders

Despite a commitment to hire local contractors some council decisions are leaving...

How hospital coped with Coast's lesser-known COVID-19 threat

premium_icon How hospital coped with Coast's lesser-known COVID-19 threat

An underlying condition meant one group was particularly vulnerable