Places, Parks and Parades
Tourist attractions and festivals have been a key part of Port Macquarie’s tourism history. From its early convict connections and historical places, beautiful scenery, theme parks and carnivals, the town has offered something for everyone. Port Macquarie introduced the marketing slogan of ‘Australia’s First Resort’ in 1967.
Souvenir Sugar Bowl, St Thomas Church, 1920s
Built by convicts as a place of worship for Port Macquarie’s penal establishment, St Thomas’ Church remains a place of Anglican worship today and is the town’s oldest tourist attraction. Photographs and illustrations of the historic church building have featured on hundreds of souvenir items, booklets and postcards.
Souvenir Teapot, View from the Church Tower, 1930s
There is no better place to view Port Macquarie than from St Thomas’ Church tower. Views from the tower featured on numerous souvenirs and postcards. The landscape has changed over time, however the view remains a highlight for those visitors who are able to climb the series of stairs and steps to the tower roof.
Badge, Port Macquarie Regatta, 1937
Port Macquarie held sailing regattas on the Hastings River from 1882 and possibly earlier. Over the years motor speed boat and rowing scull races were added to the event program, reflecting changes in river and watercraft activities. Prize money was offered to attract competitors and ensure a full and engaging program over the Easter event for the large numbers of visitors who attended.
Processions, Pines and Princesses
Banner, Carnival of the Pines, 1967
The Carnival of the Pines was first established in 1955, initially to bring visitors to Port Macquarie during the quieter winter months however it was later moved to the Easter weekend. Highlights of each carnival included the Queen of the Carnival of the Pines crowning, sporting events and a colourful street procession on Easter Monday. Carnivals held during the 1960s attracted record crowds year after year.
A lot of Bull
Souvenir Teaspoon, Big Bull Wauchope, 1990s
The Big Bull was a farm theme park featuring a large model of a Holstein Friesian bull complete with swinging testicles! The bull model housed a gift shop with restaurant and park activities included an animal nursery and hay rides. The Big Bull continued to attract tourists keen for a photograph even after it closed.
Souvenir Plaque, Fantasy Glade, 1990s
Fantasy Glades was a popular and award winning family theme park based on fairy tale characters. It was a favourite amongst visitors of all ages, many of whom visited as children and then returned as adults to experience and share the magic of the park with the next generation. People hold fond and strong memories of the park which did not have a fairy tale ending when it closed in 2002 after 35 years.
Souvenir Teaspoon, Timbertown, c2005
Situated at nearby Wauchope, Timbertown is a theme park depicting a working timber settlement of the period 1880 to 1910. The park opened to the public in December 1976. Timbertown offers a number of visitor experiences including a working saw mill, steam train rides, and bullock team, whip cracking, blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations.