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Road Transport

The Peak Downs Highway surveyed in 1863 remained the main overland link from Mackay to the south for many years.  Before the advent of the motor car, there was little incentive to extend or improve the roads as the railways were considered the answer to the long distance transport of passengers and goods.

The other main road link to Mackay today is the Bruce Highway that celebrated its 50th year in 1984.  In 1934 the highway (named after Henry Adam Bruce, Minister for Public Works) was only 100kms long.

From Mackay south in the 1930's, a road ran as far as Sarina.  Baker's Creek, Sandy Creek and Alligator Creek had all been bridged, but the road itself was a road in name only.

South of Sarina, the original road followed the coast to St. Lawrence, thence to Marlborough, but was described as a horror stretch.  Over the years, an inland route west of the Connors Range through cattle country was favoured more by travellers, although very lonely with not even a village in over 200 kms.  In 1982 an upgraded, all weather Bruce Highway through St. Lawrence was re-opened.

The original road north from Mackay in the early days first meandered west to Mirani before making a roundabout route back to the coastal plain and thence to Proserpine.  In the 1950's the highway was re-routed through Farleigh.

The growth of highways was a direct result of the development of the motor car, and had a profound effect on Mackay, as it did elsewhere.  The horse and buggy disappeared, although they shared the stage for a considerable period.

The blacksmith and saddler were replaced by the mechanic, and the service station.

It is recorded that the first of the new-fangled inventions to reach Mackay came with Fitzgerald's circus in 1902 as a very successful publicity stunt.  Dr. W. Hoare was one of the first residents to actually own a car.  He shared the honours with J.C. Penny and one or two others in the early days of the 20th century.  Mr. A.B. Milne opened the first motor garage in Brisbane Street in 1913.

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Mackay Historical Society


Mackay Historical Society and Museum Incorporated 2001-2006.
created 12 August 2004.
last updated 09 August, 2006 .
Site maintained by Glen Hall