Drive to Shelly Beach 1930s
Looking south towards Nobbys 1960s
Fairy penguin feeding at King Neptune’s Park c1980
Kangaroo encounter at Kingfisher Park 1990s
Claranda cruise boat 1970s
Koala Hospital 1990s

Natural Playground

Port Macquarie’s natural beauty and environment were recognised by the NSW Premier in 1935 when he described Port Macquarie ‘as the natural playground of New South Wales’. Since then, wildlife and marine parks, bushland reserves, coastal walks, hinterland trails and our world famous koala hospital have drawn visitors to Port Macquarie and surrounds.


Postcard, Olive Falls, 1920s

A correspondent wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald in 1923 suggesting that Comboyne had unequalled scenic attractions for tourists. ‘No other spot in Australia can offer such a varied panorama to the lover of nature’s beauty. The stately hardwoods, the fragrant brush woods, the graceful palms and ferns, and the myriads of parrots and satin birds all combine to make the Comboyne a veritable fairyland’.

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Climate Control

Framed Letter, Port Macquarie: The Ideal Climate, 1939

Port Macquarie’s mild coastal climate earned it the motto of being ‘Warm in Winter – Cool in Summer’, of which the town was very proud. Port Macquarie was recognised as a sea-side health resort in Ludwig Bruck’s ‘Guide to the Health Resorts in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand’ published in 1888, likening the climate to that of Lisbon.

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Sea Treasure

Bird Novelty Shell Ornament, 1940s

Irene Edwards a dental technician, keen shell collector and shell artist opened her one room shell collection to the public as a museum during the 1940s and 1950s.  Most of her shell collection was gathered from the Great Barrier Reef. Miss Edwards’ shell work, which included ornaments and trinkets, was for sale to visitors.

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Seaside Sanctuary

Souvenir Plate, Sea Acres Sanctuary, 1960s

Reserved by the Crown in 1913 as part of Shelly Beach Flora Reserve, Sea Acres was designated a wildlife refuge in 1967.  Now a National Park, Sea Acres is described as a ‘beach wrapped in rainforest, where the crash of waves is accompanied by a choir of birdsong’. It protects one the largest remaining coastal rainforests on the east coast of Australia.

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Sea Kingdom

Souvenir Mug, Dolphin and Marine Park, 1970s

During the 1970s and 1980s Port Macquarie was the home of many animal and wildlife parks including the Dolphin and Marine Park, later known as King Neptune’s Park. The  park opened to the public in 1973 and was home to seals, dolphins and other marine life. Located at the end of the breakwater, the park was a popular tourist attraction right up until its closure in January 1989.

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Crocodile Smile

Crocodile Tooth Pendant, 1980s

Markbuk Park, an Australiana and Wildlife attraction opened in November 1969. The park’s main exhibits were reptiles and particularly Big Mumma, an 85 year old crocodile measuring 14 feet in length. Marbuk Park was short lived closing in 1975. Billabong Zoo was established in 1986 as a Koala breeding centre and is now a major wildlife tourist attraction. It has a crocodile named Shrek.

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Keen to Discover more?

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