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About the Mackay Region:

Mackay is a provincial city in North Queensland with a diverse and developing community. The region surrounding Mackay boasts Australia's largest sugar cane producing area with six sugar mills, one of Australia's four sugar refineries and the larges bulk sugar terminal in the world. Other major industries in the area include coal, tourism and beef. The region includes more than 70 islands in the Whitsunday group, a section of the Great Barrier Reef. The beauty of the region, from the sandy beaches and Whitsunday islands, to the tropical rainforests and National parks, make Mackay a popular tourist destination.

History of Maltese Settlement in Mackay and surrounding districts:

In 1883, a of shipload of Maltese migrants were indentured to work in the cane fields of North Queensland and as a result, the first Maltese immigrants settled in the Mackay area. In the early 1900's Maltese people along with other European countries, were urged by migration campaigns to try your luck in Australia. With the prospect of a new life and work, many young Maltese men and women went through exhaustive medical examinations and boarded ships like the Ocean Triumph and Castel Felici bound for Australia. The ships usually stopped in Fremantle, Western Australia; Adelaide, South Australia; Melbourne, Victoria, Sydney, New South Wales and Brisbane, Queensland. Many Maltese immigrants have settled in these cities, while others with a thirst for adventure, headed further north. They found work in the sugarcane fields in the surrounding districts of Mackay in places like Habana and Farleigh. The work was hard labour, clearing hilly, rocky ground, planting sugarcane and, in the harvesting season, cutting the cane by hand. At first they worked for others, but before long, some earned enough money, often by going into partnership with their fellow countrymen, which enabled them to buy their own piece of land and became farmers themselves. They also diversified into all types of business and so adopted and supported the local community already established. In Mackay today it is estimated that 25% of the Mackay and region's population are of Maltese descent. The Mackay region has an estimated population of 125,000 permanent residents.