1770 June 1 Captain James Cook of the HMS Endeavour passes close by the coastline off Mackay. He names cape Palmerston, Slade Point, Cape Hillsborough before heading north to the Whitsunday Islands.
1793 Captain William Brampton  discovering the "Brampton" Shoals.
1819 June 7 Lieutenant Phillip Parker King passes Slade Point and comments on fires on the coast at Cape Hillsbourough evidence of a substantial Aboriginal population.
1843  February/March Captain Blackwood of HMS "Fly" lands near Armstrong's Beach and Sarina Inlet. Jukes the botanist assesses the land between Cape Palmerston and the Whitsunday passage and deems it most fertile than any on the coast they have seen.
1860 May 25 John Mackay's expedition party reach the coast of Mackay having traversed the Pioneer Valley. 
1862 January John Mackay drives a herd of cattle and settles on Greenmount Knoll the first settlement in the Mackay district.
1862 August John Mackay leaves Greenmount after partnership with James Starr goes sour.
1862 November 23 Lieutenant G.P. Heath in the Rockhampton Pilot Boat "Satellite" and surveys the river 
1862 October First residents arrive in the fledgling township of Port Mackay and start building first stores.
1862 December 27 Mackay River renamed the "Pioneer River". Commodore Burnett of the HMS "Pioneer" in September 1862 traversed the Queensland coastline and as there was already a "Mackay" River in Rockingham Bay proposed to rename the river "Pioneer" to avoid confusion. 
1863 January 9 First Post Office opened in Mackay.
1863 February 5 Mackay declared a "port of entry and clearance".
1863 May Thomas Henry Fitzgerald completes first survey of Mackay township and proposes the name for the settlement as "Alexandra" which is subsequently altered to "Mackay".
1863 October 13 First sale of Mackay land held at Bowen.
1864 August Passing of the "Sugar and Coffee Regulations Act" by the Queensland Parliament. This Act gives impetus to the development of the Queensland Sugar Industry.
1864 August 4 First Mackay Court of Petty Sessions held.
1865 June 1 John Spiller plants first lot of Sugar Cane in Mackay.
1865 June 29  First Horse Race Meeting held.
1866 April 4 W.O. Hodgkinson commences publication of the towns first newspaper the "Mackay Mercury".
1866   Thomas Henry Fitzgerald takes up land on south banks of Pioneer River and calls plantation "Alexandra"
1867 May 13 First South Sea Islanders arrive aboard the ship "Prima Donna". 70 arrive to start work as indentured labourers on plantations around Mackay.
1867 June John Spiller operates first sugar Mill in the district a small wooden mill operated by horses.
1868   First large Sugar Mill "Alexandra" starts crushing. Owned by T.H. Fitzgerald in partnership with Scotsman John Ewan Davidson.
1869 December 1 First meeting of the newly formed Mackay Municipal Council. David Hay Dalrymple is the town's first Mayor.
1870 First Aboriginal Reserve created from surviving district Aborigines between Bakers and Sandy Creeks by George Bridgman. It was estimated that over half of the District's Aborigines had died since white settlement in less than 10 years.
1872   Copper ore discovered at Mount Flora south west of Nebo.
1875   Rust epidemic nearly destroys Mackay's fledging Sugar Industry. John Henry Fitzgerald one the pioneers of the industry is forced into bankruptcy.
1877 December 10 First issue of the Mackay Standard Newspaper. Published daily from 3 April 1911; fire destroyed building and plant 20 December 1918; resumed publication January 1919 with assistance from Daily Mercury; ceased 15 March 1919).
1880 March 9 Newly created Pioneer Divisional Board (later Pioneer Shire Council) meets for the first time
1880 July 21 First issue of Mackay Free Press & Pioneer Advocate Newspaper. (ceased 18 May 1882).
1881 February Gold rush commences at Mount Britton after payable ore samples found. A Small township springs up but lasts for only a couple of years.
1881   A company of volunteers formed. Formalised as "F" Company
1881 August 4 Mackay's first tramway established by John Spiller on his Pioneer Estate on the North Side of the Pioneer River is officially opened.
1884   Mackay Gas company established. Gas Street lighting introduced to Mackay
1885 August 10 Railway line officially opened. Line went up the Pioneer Valley to Hamilton (now Mirani), one line went south to Eton via Newbury Junction.
1885   The first of 150 Javanese labourers arrive in Mackay to work for CSR's Homebush and Victoria Plantations.  Many descendants of the these immigrants still live in the Mackay district.
1887 December 31 First issue of Mackay Banner Newspaper.(ceased October 1888).
1888 January 1 North Eton Sugar Mill officially opened by QLD Premier Samuel Griffith, the government financed Central Mill in Queensland.
1888 First Gaol in Mackay opened. Was located in North Mackay in area opposite present Kooyong Hotel east of Harbour Road.
1889 February  Eungella goldfield proclaimed but rush only last for a few years.
1889   Gold found at Grasstree beach and the Zelma P.C. mine started by the Muggleton Gold Mining Company. a small township springs up around the mine.
1895 February 2 First issue of Daily Chronicle Newspaper, Mackay (became tri-weekly as Mackay Chronicle, 5 August 1895; amalgamated with Mackay Mercury to become Daily Mercury from 1 January 1906).
1898 February 1 Cyclone "Eline" strikes Mackay. Flooding changes to the mouth of the Pioneer River to the current entrance at East Point.
1901 January  Mackay Celebrates Australian Federation with day long celebrations.
1903 April 8 First meeting of the Mackay Town Council after Mackay was gazetted as a town.
1905 September 27, circa First issue of Pioneer Newspaper, Mackay (ceased 29 June 1912; became New Pioneer).
1905 December 23 Constable Albert George Price murdered in Victoria Street  by a Ceylon native named Johannes.
1906 January 1 

Mackay Mercury Newspaper and Mackay Chronicle amalgamate to become the Daily Mercury; still published).

1907 A dedicated bowling Green opened in Wood Street. On site of present Canegrowers building.
1908 First motor car arrives in Mackay. Owned by local Doctor Wallis Hoare.
1909 December 18 Well known and respected local Doctor George Tyndale Lloyd dies after being thrown from a horse in Brisbane Street. The Lloyd memorial in Queens Park was erected in honour of him.
1911 Sugar Mill workers strike causing huge disruption to local Sugar Industry.
1912 October 12 Mackay Town Hall in Sydney Street officially opened.
1912   Ormond Private Hospital Opened on Corner of Brisbane and Gordon Streets, Later the site of the Mater Hospital.
1918 January 20/21 The Great 1918 Mackay Cyclone hits Mackay and devastates the City. 22 people die in Mackay and over 80% of building badly damaged. 
1919 April 15 Inaugural meeting and creation of the Mackay District Rugby League.
1919 June The Great Influenza epidemic claims it first Mackay victim, former Mayor James Prout Moule.
1921 September 24 Final link in Railway line between Mackay and Rockhampton completed at Clairview.
1923 December 1 Railway line linking Mackay to Townsville completed at Proserpine.
1924 April 9 Mackay's first Electricity Powerhouse in Tennyson Street commences operation bring electricity to the city.
1924   Methodist Church opened in Gregory Street. Original church destroyed in 1918 Cyclone. Now home to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop.
1925 July 25 Foundation Stone laid for the Church of England Holy Trinity Church in Gordon Street.
1926 May 7 Farleigh Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Ltd registered, takes over operations at Farleigh Sugar Mill.
1929   Christian Brothers College opened , later becomes St. Patrick's College.
1931 January 12 Mackay's first radio station "4MK" commences broadcasting from the Nelson Street family home of Johnny Williams.
1933 July 22 Foundation stone for the Mackay Intermediate School unveiled by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith. Later becomes the Mackay Central State School.
1937 September 4 Opening of Church of England Parish Hall on the corner of Wood and Gordon Streets by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith.
1938 March 30 Official opening of the new "FORGAN" Bridge over the Pioneer River by the Premiers wife Mrs Forgan Smith
1938 March 31 Opening of Mackay Court House in Victoria Street by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith.
1938 April 1 Opening of Mackay Fire Station in Alfred Street by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith.
1939 April 15 Opening of Slade Point State School by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith.
1939 August 26 First Ship arrives at Mackay's new Outer Harbour. The "Sydney Star" arrives to great fanfare,
1939 December Mackay Junior Cricket Association formed.
1940  September 16 Opening of The Civic Theatre in Gordon Street by QLD Premier and Mackay Local Member William Forgan Smith.  This is still part of the Birch Carroll and Coyle Cinema Complex.
1943 June 1943 Crash of US Army Air Force B17-C troop Transport Aircraft at Bakers Creek near to the present Borthwicks Meatworks. 40 US Servicemen killed and only one survivor . Still Australia's worst Aircraft Accident.
1943 September 12 Visit to Mackay by Eleanor Roosevelt the wife of US President Roosevelt. Visits as part of a good will tour for the American Red Cross.
1945 August 13 Mackay celebrates the end of World War 2 on VJ (Victory over Japan) day with daylong celebrations.
1952 May 31 Jack Binnington defeats Ian Wood to take over the Mayoralty of the Mackay City Council.
1954 March 15 Visit to Mackay by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. Transferred from Lindeman Island and stayed for only a few hours.
1956 March 31 The Marian railway bridge is washed away by raging floodwaters causing immense disruption to Pioneer Valley residents.
1957 March 1 Mackay Regional Electricity Board (M.R.E.B.) created taking over supply of Electricity from the Mackay City Council.
1957 July 27 Unveiling of the John Mackay Memorial Clock in Victoria Street by QLD Premier, Vince Gair.
1957 July 27 Official opening of the Mackay Bulk Sugar handling terminal by QLD Premier, Vince Gair.
1958 February 17 Flood waters inundate Mackay. Small community at Foulden wiped out. 3 people drowned at Cremorne.
1959 February 16 Cyclone "Connie" crosses the Queensland coast causing more flooding in the Pioneer River. The Forgan bridge damaged due to undermining of one pylon in floods the year before. The dip in the bridge is still noticeable today.
1959 May 2 Electricity Supply switched on at Calen.
1959 August 1 Railway line from Newbury Junction to Eton closed due to declining patronage.
1959 November 21 Electricity Supply turned on at Finch Hatton
1960 February  The new Mackay State High School is opened in Milton Street.
1960 June 10 Crash of T.A.A. Fokker Friendship "Abel Tasman" into the sea between Hay Point and Baker's Creek. All 29 persons on board killed. Still the worst commercial Aviation accident in Australia. Was the impetus in the development of the "Black Box" Flight Recorder used on all aircraft these days.
1960 November 12 Electricity supply turned on at Eungella.
1963 December 14 Opening of the Mackay War Memorial Swimming Pool in Milton Street. Built at a cost of 90,000 pounds. Opened by Postmaster-General COW.. Davidson.
1964 June 20 The first Pioneer Valley show held at Finch Hatton.
1965 May 17 Electricity Supply turned on at Carmila.
1965 July  Opening of Borthwicks Meatworks at Bakers Creek
1966 June 3 Electricity Supply turned on at Nebo.
1968 August 9 Mackay's first Commercial TV Station MVQ6 broadcasts for the first time.
1969 December 21 The last Steam train passenger Service in Queensland from Mackay Railway Station in Boddington Street to the Mackay Outer Harbour signalling the end of the steam era of the Queensland Railways.
1970 January 18 Cyclone "Ada" devastates island communities in the Whitsundays.
1970 April 4 Albert Abbott wins election to become Mackay's longest serving Mayor losing his position in 1988.
1970 April 16 Royal family visits Mackay briefly. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip arrive at Mackay Airport and travel through the city having a reception at the  Holy Trinity Parish Hall before driving to the Harbour prior top embarking on HMAS "Stuart" to meet the HMS "Britannia" near St. Bees Island.
1971 November 5 Official opening of the Hay Point to Goonyella Railway line by Australian Governor General Sir. Paul Hasluck.
1972 December 20 Opening of new M.R.E.B. Administration building on the corner of Wood and Gordon Streets.
1975 October 11 The new Mackay City Council Administration building in Gordon Street opened by the Minister for Northern Development and local MP for Dawson Dr. Rex Patterson.
1977 July 1 Mackay Electricity Board takes over Electricity Supply from the M.R.E.B.
1979 March 26 Canelands Shoppingtown officially opened by QLD Deputy Premier Dr. Llew Edwards.
1980 July 12 Opening of the Ron Camm Bridge over the Pioneer River.
1981 June Marsh and Websters Store operated by David Jones for a number of Years closed due to losing money. Building demolished and replaced by present National Australia Bank.
1984 March 29 The largest coal terminal in the world at Dalrymple Bay opened  by QLD Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
1988 February 5 The Mackay Entertainment Centre Officially opened by QLD Governor Sir Walter Campbell.
1990 August Theatre Royal next to Taylor's Hotel demolished having been built in 1912 and remodelled in 1936.
1991 October 6 New Mackay airport terminal opened.
1992 February 6 Mackay Campus of the University of Central Queensland University officially opened at Planlands.
1994 November 11 Mackay Refined Sugars Racecourse refinery officially opened.
1998 December 18 Duplication of Ron Camm Bridge officially opened easing traffic congestion from South Mackay and North Mackay over the Pioneer River.
2000 June 8 Closing of "Lamberts" department at "Centrepoint" shopping centre store a Mackay Icon after trading for 114 years.

 


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 Mackay Historical Society



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page created 12 August 2007.
last updated 29 June 2013 .
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