The real story...
The original and best - "The Surfers Paradise Meter Maids"
The Surfers Paradise Meter Maids were introduced in 1965 by Bernie Elsey to help beat the bad image created by the installation of parking meters on the tourist strip in December 1964. This was a controversial promotion, using young women dressed in gold lame bikinis and tiaras, who strolled the streets of Surfers Paradise feeding coins into expired parking meters, and leaving a calling card under the windscreen wipers.
In 1967, the Gold Coast was battered by cyclonic seas smashing into our coastline, so the then Major, Sir Bruce Small, along with the Meter Maids went on a campaign trail promoting the Gold Coast to Australia, getting people back to the beaches and our beautiful holiday resort. Within weeks the idea had attracted national and worldwide publicity and the Meter Maids became the spearhead of many a promotional drive throughout Australia and New Zealand. This was one of the best known gimmicks and probably the best known Gold Coast promotion.
Gone are the outdated tiaras, replaced by the sun-conscious and true Aussie Akubra hat ideal for our tropical climate, while Gold Lycra Bikinis with the occasional sequin have replaced the traditional lame bikini and even the traditional form of financing the service has taken a new turn. In the past a weekly contribution of a few dollars was paid by each local business as part of their community service but in this commercially competitive era, sponsors are expecting public profile and positive media exposure in return for their dollar.