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Quick stats: Port Macquarie has the highest number of registered marriages, with 31,746 couples recorded in the last census.
Traditionally the land of the Birpai Aboriginals, at the mouth of the Hastings River, would be surveyed for settlement by explorer John Oxley. In 1819 it was named after the NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Initially established as a punishment centre for reoffending convicts in 1821, the land was eventually offered to free settlers in the 1830s with the educated convicts staying on to do basic bookkeeping services for the settlement in a newly constructed goal. The goal served as an asylum for convicts until it was finally closed in 1847.
Settlement in the coastal town was slow and was hampered by the Gold Rush of the 1850s attracting settlers towards the state's West. Its coastal location on a stretch of cedar forest was attractive to timber getters and pastoralists with some of the state’s first sugar cane crops planted in the region and a sugar mill providing significant employment for the early settlers. Despite the wool road passing through the area in the 1840s, and its situation on the east coast trade route, the town's trading port never really succeeded. Together with a dangerous sandbar across the mouth of the river, the coast around Tacking Point was renowned for shipwrecks hampering the ports popularity with traders.
Regardless of these setbacks, the town continued to slowly grow throughout the following century with successful agricultural pursuits west of the coast including grain and sheep farms. With several pristine beaches along its coast, Port Macquarie is a today a thriving resort town on the picturesque New South Wales mid-north coast having become a favourite destination for retirees and local and domestic tourists. This is reflected in the towns primary industry with employment in the region moving away from agricultural and land uses towards service and retail industries.
SSC18559: Port Macquarie