The History of Mackay Port, North Queensland, Australia

The Mackay Port, in North Queensland, Australia, was opened on August 26th, 1939. The port took just under four years to complete.

A Long Process

As early as 1884 it was deemed that the existing Pioneer River port was inefficient, because it had problems coping with large ships. Another reason for the need for a new and improved port was the growth of the town and its surrounding areas. There was an inquiry into building a new port for Mackay in 1887, but the building of the port itself was still not to happen for decades.

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In 1933, after a site had been proposed, the Australian Government issued Mackay with a loan for a million pounds, including a grant for a quarter of a million pounds. It was put to a vote to the Mackay population as to whether the loan was acceptable. The loan offer, to help the building of a new port, was so strongly supported that those in favour outvoted those against by around 7 to 1.

On September 14th, 1935, work began on Mackay Port, with the laying of the first foundation stone. The opening of the port four years later attracted a number of VIPs, who had travelled from Brisbane on the ship the Sydney Star especially for the occasion. The opening of the port was also watched by a massive crowd.

Major New Sugar Terminal

A significant development at the Mackay Port occurred in 1952, when it was approved that a major new terminal could be built. It was a terminal that was to capitalise on the fact that Mackay is Australia's sugar capital. The terminal was designed to handle bulk sugar, and, when it opened in 1957, it became the largest shed for storing sugar anywhere in the world.

In October of 1989, an expansion by Mackay Seaport resulted in an agreement with Mackay Airport. This came to an end in December 2008.

The Mackay Marina

Another development, in 1998, saw the opening of the the Mackay Marina. The marina and Marina Village has developed into an area favoured by visitors, who take advantage of relaxing along the Harbour Beach shoreline.

In July 2009, the Mackay Ports Limited name disappeared, and the port came under the more general name of North Queensland Bulk Ports Organisation. This organisation is now known as the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation.

A major event, Cyclone Ului, affected the Mackay Port in 2010. The damage caused by the category 3 cyclone has, though, since been repaired. 

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