MEMORIES: Mackay couple Lauren and Tim Christensen's wedding portrait.
MEMORIES: Mackay couple Lauren and Tim Christensen's wedding portrait. Candice VAN MOOLENBROEK

History demolished out of the blue

THE little, bright blue building stood out on the corner of Alfred and Macalister streets.

It was the brightest structure on the street, small but hard to miss and rich in history.

A fixture on the landscape for more than 80 years, the former corner store was demolished on Wednesday, but its disappearance didn't go unnoticed.

Mackay residents have fond memories of the building - buying lollies and cream buns there before and after school, acquiring their first musical instrument and posing for a wedding photos.

Christine Hall, who has owned the property for more than 10 years, is the last in a long list of owners. Mrs Hall also has owned Central Lodge, next door, for the past 30 years.

Her husband, Wilson Hall, said she hasn't stopped crying since the landmark building on the corner allotment was demolished on March 21.

Mrs Hall said it had been a tough decision but if she hadn't done it, the termite-infested building soon would have fallen down. "It hurt me to see it go but I have done the right thing," she said. "It was riddled with white ants."

Mrs Hall said she had been prepared to pay for renovations but after finding out how severe the white ant problem was, it had to be demolished.

"We would have liked to have kept it but the money that would have been involved was just enormous," Mr Hall added.

He said they had spent a lot of money painting the building blue over the years.

"It looked very attractive blue with a white roof," he said. "A lot of people used to get their wedding photos taken out the front of there... I've never ever seen any of the photos but I'd like to."

Mackay couple Lauren and Tim Christensen were photographed in front of the building after their wedding in November 2013.

Saddened by the news, Mrs Christensen said the most beautiful thing about it was its vintage iron lace adornments.


Mackay couple Lauren and Tim Christensen's wedding portraits.
Mackay couple Lauren and Tim Christensen's wedding portraits. Candice VAN MOOLENBROEK

Generations of students at Mackay Central State School, across the road, recall calling into the shop to buy lollies but the early history of the building remains a mystery.

Clem Feldman, 86, remembers his dad, Ronald, leasing the building in 1932 and running a store there.

Prior to that, he said, Bill Hausknecht leased the property. Mr Feldman said the building definitely went through the 1918 cyclone because he remembers seeing holes in the roof, made when they tried to let the water out.

He has vivid memories of his dad working long hours and very hard in the shop.

As a young boy, he used to help out, delivering milk by bicycle to Wood St, Peel St, Shakespeare St and also to the mayor at the time 'Jack' Binnington.

He said after his dad retired in 1944, the building then became Burnett Upholstery Works where saddles and car seats were sold.


Ned Burnett bought the property in the early '70s. Parkinson's Electrical and later Burnett Motor Trimmers operated from the premises. In the mid-80s his son Jeffrey Burnett took over, with his wife Jennifer. In 1991 they opened Mackay Music Supplies, which later became a music school, with fitted-out soundproof training rooms.

Kelly-Anne Cacciola bought the property in 2000, sold to Mrs Hall in about 2005, but continued to lease it from Mrs Hall until November 2017. The building was then left vacant.

The demolition took residents by surprise. Some were upset the public hadn't been notified.

Mackay Regional Council development services director Gerard Carlyon said there was no requirement for council signage advising of the demolition.

"Because the building approval was issued through a private certifier, council is not responsible for any signage or notification," he said. "Council is only involved with building approvals that are lodged with council as the record keeper."

Glen Hall, who run the Facebook page Have You Seen The Old Mackay, said it was sad to see Mackay losing its cultural history, which held so many memories.

"Council and the State Government can be pretty toothless," he said. "We're just not saving anything and it's likely going to happen to the old Commonweath Bank soon."

How you can pay your respects for Miners Memorial Day

Premium Content How you can pay your respects for Miners Memorial Day

COVID-19 pandemic has required changes to the way the service is held.

Indigenous artists share stories and culture through artworks

Premium Content Indigenous artists share stories and culture through...

VOTE NOW: Winning artist will have their work reproduced on polo shirts.

Poll closing soon: Projects you want our pollies to deliver

Poll closing soon: Projects you want our pollies to deliver

Vote now to have your say on this region’s future.