OLD Mulherin Park was a sea of families, music and laughter as Mackay celebrated the Port of Mackay 80th Anniversary on Sunday (25 August).

More than 3,000 people gathered to mark the milestone with old-fashioned fun at the Maritime Carnival.

Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Fertin said the day recreated the initial opening of the port in 1939 with performances from the Mackay and District Pipe Band, classic car display, train rides and the Doo Wop Dolls.

“For 80 years, the Port of Mackay has played an essential role in the community,” Mr Fertin said.

“We were very proud to open the Port up yesterday to celebrate with the community, whose ongoing support has contributed to the success of the Port.” “Live performances from the Mackay Sugar City Rock and Roll Club, FAD Dance, Dance Express, Theatre Arts Mackay Dance Excellence, and roving performers from Sensory Circus were outstanding,” Mr Fertin said.

“Major hits with children were the free fairy floss, popcorn, colouring competition and the Treasure Hunt passport.”

Community members were able to learn more about the port and community groups with displays from NQBP, Sugar Australia, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Maritime Safety Queensland, Crane Logistics, and the Army and Navy Cadets. Hungry carnival goers lined up for food vendors Sarina Sugar Shed, El Papas, Spilt the Beans Mobile Café, Sweet Cakes – Dutch Pofferties, Kool Temptations, Issy’s Wood fired Pizza Café, Dumpling Hut Mackay, Cream and Bean, and Mini Melts.

Jay and Dave from Triple M in sailor attire broadcast live. Crowds were also drawn to carnival favourites - free face-painting, children’s train and pirate ship rides, the reef jumping castle. Around 300 community members learnt more about the Port of Mackay’s history on special bus tours.

Port of Mackay 80th Anniversary Carnival videos

Historical blog

Read more about the history of Mackay with this blog piece by Dr Melanie Piddocke, Central Queensland Development Officer for the Queensland Museum