Macksville was named after Angus Mackay and Hugh McNally, who built the Star Hotel in 1885. The town became Macks Village before changing to Macksville. Nambucca Post Office opened on 1 August 1868 and was renamed Macksville in 1889.
Macksville – History of a River Town
John Oxley entered the mouth of Nambucca River 1820 travelling only a short distance up river. In 1841 the surveyor Clement Hodgkinson surveyed the navigatable reaches of the river travelling at least as far as Congarinni on the southern branch, Taylors Arm, of the river. Rivers were the roads in early settlement of the North Coast of New South Wales. In the 1830’s cedar getters, being the first European settlers of the Nambucca area, floated logs down the rivers to the mills at the river mouth at Nambucca Heads where steam and sail boats transported timber to Sydney. By the 1850’s farmers were taking up selections along the river banks and later further inland and their produce was also transported via the river. In 1865 William Hughes took up the first selection in what is now the town area – east of the present highway bridge. As settlement spread the first tracks connecting to Kempsey in the south and Bellingen in the north, as well as to small settlements in the valley were made. Originally these were bullock tracks that coaches and horse drawn vehicles later travelled.
The first river crossing and wharf of this small settlement known as Central Nambucca was located about 14 kilometres up-river from Nambucca Heads opposite Newee Creek. The small settlement (118 shown in the 1891 Cencus) was strung along a dirt track later known as River Street and Princess Street. The track south, known as Kempsey Road, followed this route then along what became known as Bent/ Wallace street.
Angus McKay and Hugh McNally owned a great deal of property in the area and it was a combination of their names that the village was named Mack’s Village later shortened to Macksville. The name “Macksville” appeared in 1887 in advertisment for land sale by Angus McKay. Officially the name changed from Central Nambucca in 1889.
The second river crossing was a punt located at the end of Princess Street. This operated from 1908 to 1931 when Macksville bridge opened at the end of Cooper Street. The road south, now known as Pacific Highway, followed Wallace/ Bent Street. The name ‘Bent’ has disappeared but until the 1950’s/1960’s the road from the intersection with Princess St south past Macksville cemetery was known as Bent St – this entire section is now Wallace St.
The road on the north side originally ran closer to the river – Ferry Street, then along what is now BelleVue Drive and Nursery Road.
In the 1960’s the present Pacific Highway was developed – further from the river on the northern side of town and to the east of the Golf Club at Bald Hill with a new bridge across Warrell Creek.
Commercial and residential development took place along these transport corridors. Gradually the small timber cottages were replaced by shops. The arrival of the railway (1919), the introduction of motor vehicles and the development of the North Coast road meant river traffic became obsolete by ?? By the middle of the 1930’s there were four major banks, and three large general stores – Mac’s and Halls in Wallace Street and Reid and Fotheringham in Princess Street. Nambucca River Co-operative began operation in 1903 with butter factories throughout the shire, a grocery and department store.
Boultons Nambucca Hotel Located beside the first crossing. Thomas Boulton had selected land in 1866 and built a six roomed house – three rooms upstairs and verandah all around and a dining room and kitchen behind. The verandah was closed in to make extra bedrooms and in 1882 this became the first hotel in the area.
Willis’ Store in the 1860’s this was probably the earliest building beside the crossing in River St Owned by Mrs Ashford Willis
Court House and Watch House built 1892
Field’s Bakery & Confectionary Richard & Margaret Field moved from Macleay 1869 and set up the first bakery (Salvation Army)
Government Wharf was in operation 1886
Cordial Factory established by Michael & Mary Moran using water from a well beside what is now Tinks
Majestic Theatre built in 1923 by Michael & Mary Moran when they owned the Star Hotel. Front portion was silent picture theatre. Also used as a ballroom and for boxing events. (Tinks)
Star Hotel built 1885 by Hugh McNally. In 1900 a two storey extension was made to the rear and in 1919 another two storey extension was added to the east (Star Hotel). Prior to the hotel being built Joseph Hall took up a selection on the site in 1866 and operated a small store. In 1883 he opened a boarding house on the site.
Original single storey cottage was replaced in 1909/10 by a two storey weatherboard house (Pizza Shop)
Dentists Pile family Original cottage replaced in 1909 (Hibiscus Dry Cleaners)
ES&A Bank First two storey bank building (1900) burned down about 1922. Replaced by another two storey bank building which was demolished 1957 and replaced with brick/ sandstone clad single storey (Surf Shop)
Post Office built 1917 as one of the first two post offices built entirely by the Commonwealth. Prior to this the first mail deliveries – Fredrickton to Bellingen – began 1867 and in 1868 the first Post Master, William Wright (a farmer) was appointed;a Telegraph station opened 1878 and in 1880 a Money Order Office began operated by Mrs Annie Hall. Edward Leeson was appointed Post & Telegraph Master in 1885.
Crown Store one of the oldest surviving buildings in town was built 1880’s and operated by J.Egan. Leased to William Burch 1908-1910 (Bridge Cafe)
Burch’s Store built 1910 by William Burch by lifting existing cottage on the site to the first floor as a residence. Leased to Reid & Fotheringham 1912 – 1929 (Supermarket)
Reid & Fotheringham Hardware pre 1919. Boug & Purcell operated a Joinery & Hardware (?)(The Remnant Shop)
CBC Bank built in 1924 this was the first of three two storey bank buildings built in town between WW1 and WW2. It replaced a timber cottage that was relocated to River St. (National Bank)
O’Ryan Brother’s Auctioneer built 1908. In c.1920 operated by Jim Lack as hairdresser’s (Elwood Upholstry & Camping
Poole & King Electrical/ Bike Shop Built c.1914 (Solicitor)
Louis Joseph Chemist Two storey skillion roofed shop with resident over. Joseph sold the shop c. 1935 (Mary’s Hairdresser)
Originally two shops. About 1915 Reid & Fotheringhams added a first floor (Physiotherapist)
Reid & Fotheringhams two storey store built by Reid & Fotheringhams in 1919 becoming for twenty years a major shop in town employing up to 30 staff. Destroyed by fire
Fenced in Public Baths prior to 1927 until WW2 (Public park and Centenary of Federation Wharf)
Gillette’s Restaurant built 1928 by Reid & Fotheringhams and leased to Gillettes. Later a menswear store.
Morrisons Cycle Garage built by Alec Morrison as a motor cycle garage prior to 1916 (Beehive Cafe)
Butcher Shop built by Midco 1950 – building was delayed by big flood
Dwelling from early 1900’s (Arcade linking Princess and Wallace Streets – 1970)
School of Arts single storey hall 29.5metres long X 12metres wide with stage built 1903/4. Used as a cultural and social centre of town until the 1850’s (video Shop)
Fishery Smoke Room on bank of river then Blacksmiths – Archie Woods, Bob Rowe, Dick Rowe & Tom Daunt
Joseph’s House built by Louis Joseph as a dwelling for his family when re relocated his chemist shop from River St
Bert ReDalli’s Garage Two storey shop with verandah – prior 1916 (Mechanical Repairs)
McKay’s Store built Angus McKay 1888 as a store with residence above (Toyworld)
Pooles Shop two storey skillion roofed corner building (Princess & McKay) built between 1916 and 1919 (shops, offices and accommodation)
St Patrick’s Church opened 1887 on the corner of Princess & Wallace St. Land had been donated by Hugh McNally. A grave of Miss M?? was in the church yard. The church was removed to the present site and Mathew Wallace purchased the site for 30 pounds. A two storey weatherboard store was then built on this prominent corner site 1910 & operated by Clark Bros. In 1915 was bought out by Walter Scott McNivin in 1915, then George Wilkes, Bob Wilkes, W Lake & Sons, and R T Snodgrass. In 1940 the building was demolished. In 1950 John Smith erected the present building. Whilst the site was vacant it was used by local children as a place to play marbles. (Smith’s Corner/
Bank of NSW a two storey Georgian revival style building built 1935. Prior to this the bank operated in rented premises
Morrison’s Garage built in 1934 by Alec Morrison as a motor garage with residence above
Long Residence and Shop built c.1930 by Parkins and sold to Long who added a shop which sold fruit & vegetables, sweets and staples. Long was related to Morrisons. (Neighbourhood Centre & Sandwich Shop)
Fire Station built 1950’s
Rural Bank built 1950 Two storey bank building with residence above
Nambucca Hotel built 1915 by Mathew Wallace
Gibbard’s Garage built 1937
Mac’s Store the original two storey building had verandahs damaged by fire in 1920’s. New verandah was built. Operated as Mac’s Store until 1938. Previously Gillette’s Cafe, Moran’s with boarding house on first floor
Halls Store single storey building on corner of Wallace Street and Hall’s Lane. Built c.1916 and for 50 years was one of the major general stores in the town. (Newsagent, Retravision & Chemist)
Anglican Church earliest portion built c. 1907 and shortly after an extension built on south end. Further extensions to the north end in 1930 and a porch added in ??. Anglican was the most numerous denomination in 1900.
Macksville General/ Primary School built 1897
Macksville Hospital Federation style building built George Schaible c.1930. Operated as a private hospital until 1947 when it was transferred to Public Hospital Board until 1958 when present hospital was built. (part Macksville Primary School)
Methodist Church original church built on this site 1909. This building was used as a hall when brick church built 1925 (Uniting Church)
Methodist Manse first portion built c. 1905 and additions 1909
Mrs Rowe’s House c.1920’s
Dr Shapere’s House & Surgery built 1933-4 as a residence with surgery detached. Dr Pope continued
Dalton’s House Undertaker Dalton built house 1933