Queensland Place Histories – Eimeo, Mackay

Eimeo is an outer suburb of Mackay, located approximately 11 kilometres north of the city.  The area covered by the suburb extends from the Mackay-Bucasia Road to the high land at the entrance to Eimeo Creek.  Adjacent to the headland is a small sandy beach.

Day out at Eimeo Beach, Mackay. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries. Image number: qmc01912

Day out at Eimeo Beach, Mackay. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries

The suburb’s name is said to derive from the birthplace of Eimeo pioneer, Jeremiah Downs Armitage, Eimeo Island in Tahiti.  Jeremiah Armitage came to Mackay in the early 1870s and soon took up land, initially operating as a timber merchant but later moving into fruit growing.  In addition to the growing of fruit, Armitage developed the area to cater for tourists in the Mackay area.  He opened a boarding house on Eimeo Hill, which also intermittedly traded as a hotel.

Armitage’s lasting legacy to the area is the avenue of mango trees he planted, probably in the 1880s, to delineate the track leading from the main Mackay access road, through his property, to his boarding house/hotel.  These trees survive to the present day and are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.  Palm Avenue is also a significant and well known feature of the suburb.

Palm Avenue, Eimeo, Mackay, Qld. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries. Image number: qmc05507

Palm Avenue, Eimeo, Mackay, Qld. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries

The present day Pacific Hotel, often still referred to as the Eimeo Pub, is the successor to Armitage’s earlier boarding house/hotel.  During the Second World War, the Eimeo Hotel was used as a place of rest and recreation by American servicemen, many of whom had fought in various locations in the Pacific campaign.  The present Pacific Hotel on the site dates from 1954.

Pacific Hotel, Eimeo, Mackay. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Libraries. Image number: qmc01614

Pacific Hotel, Eimeo, Mackay. Image courtesy of Mackay Regional Libraries

During the 1930s, as an added attraction for visitors and holiday makers, there was a skating ring adjacent to the Eimeo Hotel.

Eimeo skating rink, Queensland, 1939. State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 45983

Eimeo skating rink, Queensland, 1939

 The area has also been a popular residential and tourist location, with the first allotments specifically being marketed for the purposes of holiday homes, being sold from 1926.  Boating and other water sports have always been popular pursuits.

Seven lads in a boat at Eimeo Creek, Mackay region. Courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries. Image number: qmc01843

Seven lads in a boat at Eimeo Creek, Mackay region. Courtesy of Mackay Regional Council Libraries

Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland