This non-commercial port was almost denied to recreational sailors early in the twentieth century when Mackay desperately needed port facilities superior to those along its riverbank. A number of alternative port developments were proposed, including a two kilometre-long viaduct from the mainland to Flat Island where finger piers and warehouses would be built. Another proposal was to capitalise on Port Newry’s naturally deep water and develop Acacia Island as a wharf and warehouse site that would be connected to the mainland by viaduct then to Mackay by rail.
Happily for recreational sailors, it was ultimately decided to build Mackay’s harbour closer to home, the 1930s seeing two breakwaters reaching seaward from the town beach. Port Newry was then declared a national park and left in pristine peace amongst mangrove forests and rocky continental islands.
The Pub On Newry Island
Not to long ago there use to be a functioning pub on Newry Island, popular with locals and Tourists. The only way to get there was by boat. However this is not the case as anymore as the island was sold to the national parks and the pub was retired to just being a landmark.
Annette Kellerman- “Newry is my home”
Annette Marie Sarah Kellerman was an professional swimmer, vaudeville, filmstar, and writer. She was one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing costume, instead of the then accepted pantaloons, and inspired others to follow her example. She is also often credited for creating synchronized swimming. On top of all that she was the first major actress to ever do a nude scene in A Daughter of the Gods.
Annette called Seaforth, her home for many years splitting her time between both Seaforth and Hollywood. It is said she use to swim from Newry to the mainland every day and get a lift back with the local fishermen.
World War II Base
Back in World War II a small training base was set up in Seaforth. The goal was to teach navigation to aid in the war effort. They set up several armaments on North Redcliff Island, and they say there were quite a few big boats sitting out at sea. All that’s left now is a unmovable bolt in the ground and the make shift road that can be used to walk out to the islands at low tide.
A Crocodile Kills Two Children
In the early part of last century 2 young siblings were taken by a crocodile on their way to school. It is said the crocodile had spent months watching them make their daily crossing of Jolimont Creek on the way to school. One day while making the crossing it jumped up and took them straight of the back of their horse.
The horse arrive to the destination but the kids were gone. A search was launched and they were found the bodies buried under the creek bed. The crocodile was shot and beheaded. In it’s belly they found a single shoe. As for the head, the skull was used as a garden ornament in town for many years to come, giving nightmares to countless children.