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Mackay () is a city in the Mackay Region on the eastern or Coral Sea coast of Queensland, Australia. It is located about 970 kilometres (603 mi) north of Brisbane, on the Pioneer River.
Mackay is described as being in either Central Queensland or North Queensland, as these regions are not precisely defined.
More generally, the area is known as the Mackay–Whitsunday Region. Nicknames of Mackay include the Sugar capital and Macktown.Founded in 1862 the settlement was originally known as Alexandra, in honour of Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Because nothing was registered with the colonial Government the city was later renamed Mackay after John Mackay. With the passing of the "Sugar and Coffee Regulations Act" by the Queensland Government in August 1864 sugar became the industry of choice for the Mackay region. John Spiller planted the first sugar crop on the 1st June 1865. Sugar became the economic foundation of the city. These plantations used South Sea Islanders that had been blackbirded as indentured labourers or slaves. The trades ending in 1904 roughly coincided with the immigration of Mediterranean migrants from Italy and Malta beginning in 1891 to work the sugarcane plantations, and by the 1930s one third of Australia’s Italian migrants lived in North Queensland. The city was nearly destroyed in the 1918 cyclone, and the following reconstruction used primarily Art Deco and Spanish Mission architectural styles for which the city is famous.
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