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The newspaper has undergone a number of masthead and ownership changes.
When Patrick Joseph McNamara started the paper in 1885, he worked in a tin shed on Southport's Lawson Street. He named the paper The Southern Queensland Bulletin, and it was the first newspaper published in Southport. McNamara was succeeded by Mr Shepherd and Mr Mellor. In the 1890s, the broadsheet was renamed to The Logan and Albert Bulletin, and kept this name until 1928. It was during this period that the Rootes family became associated with the paper,[how?] a relationship that spanned generations and provided stability to the publication.
Front page of The South Coast Bulletin, 25 January 1929
In 1908 Mr Edward Fass purchased the newspaper and sold his interest in 1928. On 21 December 1928, under the editorship of Mr Michael James O'Donohue, the newspaper changed format to a tabloid and altered its masthead to The South Coast Bulletin. The first issue with this title was published on 21 December 1928. In 1930 a new editor, Mr Norman Sydney Woodroffe, was appointed.
During the 1930s The South Coast Bulletin was published weekly on a Friday. It focused on local issues and was "strongly involved in promoting the South Coast as a holiday resort". It included information on pioneers of the region, reported on items of interest to local residents and advocated for the improvement of the steadily growing region now known as the Gold Coast, Queensland.
^Elliott, John (1980). Southport - Surfers Paradise: An illustrated history to commemorate the Centenary of the Southport State School. Molendinar: Gold Coast Publications Pty Limited. pp. 66-67. ISBN978-0-9594767-0-5.
^"Coast History Recorded", The Hinterland Sun, p. 2, 8 November 2001
^"The South Coast Bulletin which incorporates the Logan and Albert Bulletin", The South Coast Bulletin, p. 1, 4 October 1929
^ abcGalton, Barry (1985). The Gold Coast Bulletin: A history of a regional newspaper (1885-1985). Southport: Gold Coast Publications Pty Limited. p. 45. ISBN978-0-9589409-0-0.
^"Man of bold type", The Gold Coast Bulletin, p. 8, 8 April 1993
^"The reproduction of a Bulletin front page from October, 1929, shows how that newspaper acknowledged the pioneers of the rapidly growing place that would become the Gold Coast", The Gold Coast Bulletin, p. 4, 5 December 1984