It all started when…
Elsey was born in England in 1906, and migrated to Australia at the age of nine. He had little formal education, and his distinguishing feature was his chronic stuttering. Elsey worked in the plumbing trade in Toowoomba, Queensland until he was 40. His motto was "To succeed in life, you have to sell yourself and believe in what you are doing". He did succeed in spite of apparent impediments.
He was unorthodox as well as grossly confident. After quitting the plumbing trade, he embarked on a new career by gambling on his salesmanship and offering himself to a Brisbane food wholesaler (Sanitarium) without pay for a month's trial. Again he succeeded and after a successful interlude with his own food distribution business arrived on the Gold Coast in 1949 to build the reputation as the 'self-made millionaire whose colorful character helped paint the Gold Coast bright'.
Elsey saw entertainment as an adjunct of accommodation and set himself with a salesman's discernment to get the best for the least to gain the greatest profit.
After deciding that Coolangatta was too conservative for his style of development, Elsey concentrated his energy on Surfers Paradise, where restraints were few and opportunities many. He built the Surfrider Hotel, the Surfers Paradise Beachcomber Hotel along with Tiki Village. His in-house entertainments were legendary. The pajama parties and Hawaiian nights pushed the edges of the law, filling national papers with copy and his establishments with patrons.
Tiki Village was the first purpose built Timeshare Resort in Australasia and ran as such from the early 80’s until December 2018 when it was relaunched as a Full Service Hotel and renamed the Tiki Hotel Surfers Paradise.