Today's sophisticated tourist resorts in Mackay and on the offshore islands are a far cry from their forebears of 50 or more years ago.
Before the days of high-powered cars and boats, only the affluent citizens could afford holidays, and most had to be content with one-day jaunts or picnics, transported by horseback or buggy.
The opening of the rail line through the Pioneer Valley provided an excuse for an annual railway picnic to Netherdale. After the road to Eungella was built, adventurous horsemen might urge their mounts to the top for a fine view of the valley.
during the 1920's there was a boarding house at Eungella, but the Chalet was not built until 1933. The old T-model Fords could make it to the top, but had to use a tree branch to help brake on the downhill run. Sir Leslie Wilson, Governor of Queensland, was the first important visitor to the Chalet, even before it was officially opened. Mr. Ian Wood, then Mayor of Mackay, was instrumental in having Eungella declared a National Park in 1941.
The northern beaches were also favourites for holiday makers. Eimeo and its palm trees featured on postcards early in the 20th Century, and there was holiday accommodation available before the 1920's. Slade Point, too, catered for holiday guests at that time.
Bucasia, first called Seaview, was a popular spot in the 1920's and many of the well-to-do Mackayites had holiday cottages there.
Further north at Cape Hillsborough, tourists were introduced to its attractions in the 1940's by Rex Risley who operated a launch service from Mackay. Port Newry and Seaforth were popular in the early days for those who liked to "get away".
Of the offshore island, Lindeman was developed in the 1930's by the Nicholson family who built grass huts for visitor accommodation and in the 1950's were the first to provide an air service for the mainland visitor.
Brampton Island was developed first by the Bussittin family, South Molle Island by the Bauer family, Happy Bay on Long Island by the Mountneys, and Daydream Island by Sir Reginald Ansett. Hamilton Island was later on the scene, having been developed by Keith Williams in the 1980's.
Cruises around the islands were initiated by Captain Tom McLean who established Roylen Cruises in 1946.
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© Mackay Historical Society and Museum
created 12 August 2004.
last updated 09 August, 2006 .
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