In Surfers Paradise Australia there is an association of bikini-clad

In Surfers Paradise Australia there is an association of bikini-clad

in Surfers Paradise Australia, there is an association of bikini-clad meter maids who will top off your parking meter to prevent you from getting a parking ticket!

Surfers Paradise Meter Maids are Australian, bikini-clad meter maids in Surfers Paradise — a surfing, entertainment and tourism centre on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Rather than issuing parking tickets to motorists when they overstay, they feed the meter to buy more time and leave a card to promote the area and preserve goodwill.

They were first instituted by entrepreneur Bernie Elsey in 1965 through the Surfers Paradise Progress Association, which was opposed to the introduction of parking meters. The meter maids carried a gold bag of sixpences to top up expired meters, so saving motorists from a $2 fine. After decimalisation in 1966, these values became five cents and two Australian dollars.

Their introduction was controversial as meter feeding was illegal but the council decided to ignore the offence as the maids were such good publicity for the area. The first maid, Annette Welch, was still disowned by her grandmother for working in this outrageous way, but went on to marry the manager of a real estate firm in Surfers Paradise. Many women who worked as meter maids went on to have careers as models after this initial exposure.

They were then promoted by mayor Bruce Small when a cyclone devastated the area in 1967. For a while they were sponsored by the local chamber of commerce but that stopped in 1990 when maids Roberta Aitchison and Melinda Stewart appeared in Penthouse. They set up a business to continue the tradition and, despite competition from rivals, they still remain. A museum now exists to record their history.

Their uniform at the outset was a gold lamé bikini and a tiara. Nowadays, this has evolved to a gold lycra bikini and an Akubra hat — the traditional Australian bush hat. Sometimes, white thigh-length boots are worn. A sash is usually worn emblazoned “Surfers Paradise Meter Maids” or the like. Advertising is carried on the uniform to provide income