Relying on the land and waterways to sustain themselves, the Birpai people made temporary huts along the river and around the lakes allowing them to follow the seasonal food trail. The region's richly diverse landscapes together with the subtropical climate ensured that the community thrived in harmony with the environment for many thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Discovered by John Oxley in 1818 and named after the Governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie, our first visitors were convicts sent to the Port Macquarie penal settlement in 1821 to serve time for secondary offences. The town was built by those convicts and overseen by military officers of the 48th Regiment. Port Macquarie was opened up to free settlers from 1830 and remained a convict town until 1847. Evidence of our convict past can be viewed at various locations including the convict built St Thomas' Church, the well of the Female Factory in Munster Street, the well of the 1840 gaol located within the HW Boutique Hotel and at the Port Macquarie Museum. The historic cemetery at the southern end of Horton Street is home to the remains of many of our early settlers including convicts, military officers and free settlers.
Port Macquarie Museum is an award winning museum featuring themed displays from the first settlers right through to today. Located in Port Macquarie's CBD, it is one of the few surviving early commercial and residential buildings in Port Macquarie and is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm (minimal charges apply) 22 Clarence Street, Phone 02 6583 1108.Mid North Coast Maritime Museum - Originally built as Pilot Cottages in 1896, they now house a wonderful collection of maritime material including superbly built scale models of a variety of vessels, charts, maps, paintings and an extensive collection of historical maritime photos. Open 7 days 10am4pm, 6 William Street, Phone 02 6583 1866.