365 Places: Port Macquarie

Day  37: Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia

May 26 is a special day in the Benson Drury calendar, as it is our wedding anniversary. For this reason, I dedicate today’s post to the beautiful seaside town of Port Macquarie, the place where we were married.

Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie – Image Credit Kevin Fallon Photography

Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie – Image Credit Kevin Fallon Photography

Port Macquarie is famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, great fishing and whale watching expeditions.

The town also has a history as one of the first convict settlements in Australia. Nowadays British tourists are stunned that people were sent here for ‘punishment’. In many ways, it has become a bit of a joke between the two nations, though there is a very serious side to the history of penal colonies in Australia. Convicts were the builders for the colonists and in Port Macquarie you will find many historic buildings were built by prisoners, including the church where we were wedded.

St Thomas' Anglican Church http://pmqang.org/history

St Thomas’ Anglican Church http://pmqang.org/history

St Thomas’ is one of the oldest churches in Australia, in fact St Thomas’ is the oldest church outside of any of Australia’s capital cities. The St Thomas’ website says:

St Thomas’ Church was built by convict labour when Australia was still part of the Diocese of Calcutta and Port Macquarie was a penal settlement. The foundation stone was laid in 1824 and the first services held in 1828, when the worshippers were the Chaplain, Camp Commandant, a detachment of British Infantry and the well guarded convicts who stood at the west end of the nave.

Port Macquarie is not just a place for colonial history, it is also a place of modern creativity, with the Glasshouse Port Macquarie functioning as a cutting-edge venue for cultural and arts events year-round.

Port Macquarie is a town we love to visit when we travel up the coast of New South Wales. It is not only beautiful, it is also a place that holds a lot of significance for us.