Meter Maids, Hannah Pallister, 15, (left) and Jessica Stunden, 18, on a lunch break from their six-hour shift in stilettos. Picture: Fiona Morris
Meter Maids, Hannah Pallister, 15, (left) and Jessica Stunden, 18, on a lunch break from their six-hour shift in stilettos. Picture: Fiona Morris

Meter Maids make it in New York

AN ex-Gold Coast Meter Maid in a timeless snap now on display in a New York exhibition says it has brought back memories of "the best time of her life".

Jessica Stunden, 32, was just 18 when photographed in 2005 taking a break at then-O'Malley's pub from strutting the streets of Surfers Paradise as an icon Gold Coast Meter Maid.

Jessica Stunden, pictured in 2019.
Jessica Stunden, pictured in 2019.

The Fiona Morris picture with Hannah Pallister, then 15, is one of 20 chosen for a Female in Focus exhibition on now at United Industries Gallery, New York, until November 15.

Ms Stunden, now a Brisbane-based self-employed event manager, says her Meter Maid days were "probably the best time of my life".

"I had just finished school and was really shy and introverted. The job helped me come out of my shell and develop a personality. It has helped me to be the person I am today.

"Everyone around the world still knows who Gold Coast Meter Maids were.

"I remember the day the photo was taken. I have not stayed in touch with Hannah, but I cannot believe our picture is hanging in a New York art gallery," she said.

The Meter Maids are well known around Surfers Paradise. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
The Meter Maids are well known around Surfers Paradise. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Ms Morris said as a child in the late 1980s she had fond memories of holidaying in Surfers Paradise and seeing the "girls in bikinis".

"I returned to the Coast 10 years ago to follow the Meter Maids for four or five days to understand the quintessential Australian icon," she said. "The photo is not the typical shot you see of the Meter Maids in Surfers Paradise, which are coloured and posed. It was authentic."

"I have travelled the world since and have not seen anything like it.

Meter Maids owner Roberta Aitchison said she fondly remembered the two girls in the photo.

"Hannah and Jessica were great friends and great assets for the business back in the day," Ms Aitchison said.

"I wish we could go back in time to what it used to be."