Wild Excitement across Town as Harbour Opens; Records Officer Delves into Vast Trove of Reports, Stories, Photos Detailing History of Port since 1939

The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia), December 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Wild Excitement across Town as Harbour Opens; Records Officer Delves into Vast Trove of Reports, Stories, Photos Detailing History of Port since 1939


Shakira Sellen

shakira.sellen@dailymercury.com.au

THE sun was warm and the sea twinkled blue as the first ship sailed into Mackay's new harbour.

The Blue Star liner, Sydney Star, arrived in Mackay on August 26, 1939, to coincide with the official opening of the new port.

North Queensland Bulk Ports' records and administration officer of 38 years, Bronwyn Kapitzke, has spent many years collecting stories and photos about the port's history.

"The Blue Star liner was a major ship to visit when the Harbour opened in 1939," she said.

"I think it was a passenger liner."

A clipping posted on the Have You Seen The Old Mackay Facebook page details the day the harbour was opened by the then Queensland Premier, W. Forgan Smith.

"The main streets in the city were closed to traffic on the Friday evening and practically every resident of Mackay was in town, including many hundreds of visitors, some of whom came from as far south as Sydney," it read.

"The Mackay City Council had its staff busily engaged for a week beforehand decorating the various buildings and streets, including the floodlighting of our beautiful shade trees in the streets.

"The next day large crowds again visited the harbour, and when the Sydney Star left there were many signs of jubilation, the more enthusiastic indulging in the throwing of coloured streamers, so to mark the departure of the first ship from our harbour. …

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