In 1896 at a public meeting to form a Progress Association for Port Macquarie, one of the ideas presented was to judiciously advertise the town as both a summer and winter resort. Two decades later, Port Macquarie was described in Moore’s Australian Almanac as rapidly coming into favour as a pleasure resort with splendid fishing, shooting, surfing, boating and golfing. Port Macquarie’s first bowling green opened in 1937.
Reckless’ Boat Shed, 1930s
Boats were available for hire to take a trip up the river for picnics and pleasure, to fish for flathead or to visit one of the many oyster leases. Boat hire was advertised as available at any time of the day with daily, hourly and weekly hire rates. Fishing tackle and bait could be purchased from several local stores. Provided visitors were not too venturesome and stayed clear of the bar, boating was in safe waters.
Framed Photographs, The Fisherman’s Paradise, 1939
Port Macquarie is well known as an angler’s paradise with Moore’s Australian Almanac of 1923 referring to the town as one of the most select and charming watering places in the State. Many Easter visitors to Port in 1933 were treated to piscatorial enjoyment with every available boat commissioned. A correspondent to the Port Macquarie News later writing ‘Port Macquarie is a fisherman’s paradise’.
Sand, Surf, Golf
Postcard, Hope this reaches you from Port Macquarie, 1930s
It wasn’t until the 1930s that Port Macquarie began to appreciate the benefit of having a golf course to attract and entertain tourists. The game of golf was growing in popularity and the golf links location on the Flagstaff headland and practically right on the beach was also a drawcard. Some of the greens and fairways overlooked the ocean. It was reported that many holiday makers played golf whilst their children played on the nearby beach, practically under their parents’ eyes. In 1933 it was thought that almost half of Port Macquarie’s visitors were golfing tourists.
Hand Fishing Reel, 1940s
The North Coast railway brought new visitors to Port Macquarie, including sportsmen of every type and particularly amateur fishermen. Port Macquarie was also home for professional fishermen with their fishing boats available for charter. In 1913, the Sydney Morning Herald observed that whiting and black bream were in such abundance they could be caught from the town wharf. The Royal Hotel even advertised fishing from their balcony.
Picnic Set, 1950s
Summer holidays means outdoor dining including picnics and barbecues in scenic surrounds with family and friends. Port Macquarie boasts numerous such places. Shelly Beach with its easily accessible drive through semi-tropical rain forest was and remains a popular place for a picnic as does Tacking Point Lighthouse with spectacular ocean and coast views. Picnic tables were installed at popular locations in and around town including the Picnic Reserve near Town Green.
Horse riders at Mid Pacific Motel, 1967
Amongst Port Macquarie’s many attractions were horse-riding schools. Situated right in town, visitors were able to learn to ride and then explore Port Macquarie at a leisurely pace on horse-back. Cars, sulkies and bicycles were also available for sight-seeing outings.
Postcard Port Macquarie 1988
Picturesque scenes like this one feature on so many of Port Macquarie’s postcards, illustrating how many beautiful picnic spots there were in and around the town. Picnic parties were also held at shady river spots and in the nearby hinterland where the natural beauty of the Hasting River, National Parks, State Forests, and reserves could be enjoyed. These beautiful natural locations remain for present day visitors to discover.