WELCOME TO SARINA & THE SERENITY COAST
Sarina is located on and to the eastern side of the rugged Connors Range and has a population of more
than 12,000 persons engaged in all walks of life. Almost one third of that population is in the Township of Sarina, which is now part of the Mackay Regional Council.
The town of Sarina also lies at the intersection of the Bruce Highway and the southern connection to the
Peak Downs Highway running to the west and the coal fields. The township is situated on the banks of
Plane Creek, 944 kilometres north of Brisbane and 35 kilometres south of Mackay. The name “Sarina”
comes from the Latin word “Serena” (Serenus) which means plain, clear, bright, calm.
Aboriginal tribes who inhabited the region between Mackay and St Lawrence included the Baraba, Barna, Wiri, and the Jubeira groups.
In 1770, Captain Cook and his crew were probably the first recorded Europeans to sight the eastern
seaboard of Sarina Shire. Captain Cook named Cape Palmerston to the South and Repulse Bay to the
North of Sarina. Matthew Flinders, the renowned British navigator, named a famous prominent landmark
in the Shire “Mt Funnel” in 1803.
1863: Graziers John & Edmund Atherton, together with Henry Bell settled in the Plane Creek area.
1864: Henry Bell obtained the first land grant.
1865: John Spiller planted the first cane in Mackay.
1865–1885: The first sugar mill in the area was a wooden horse mill,
which crushed cane. The juice was then boiled in an ordinary
boiler. At this time ‘blackbirding’, (the use of Polynesians
people brought forcibly from the Solomon Islands to work the
sugar cane farms.) was practised. This practice was outlawed
by the Queensland Government in 1885. Many of the
descendants of these people live, work and make a significant
contribution to the community of the Shire.
1865: Gold was discovered in the Mt. Cooper area and later in 1889
at Mt Zelma at Grasstree Beach. Zelma Production Company
was formed. This mine closed in 1890 and reopened in the 1980’s and has been closed again.
The economy is based on several industries, chief among these are Sugar and Coal. The diversity of these ensures a strong development and growth. The former C.S.R. Sugar Mill and Distillery, now owned and operated by Sucrogen, supports the sugar industry, while the Jilalan rail yard services the massive trains each hauled by four locomotives, bringing coal from the Bowen Basin mines to the largest loading facility in the Southern Hemisphere located on the coast at Hay Point. The combined facilities of Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point have a through- put capacity of approx 100 million tonnes a year. The terminals are a major contributor to Australiaís export returns as they export to over 40 overseas countries. Visitors can view the entire terminal from a lookout.
The coast of Sarina is blessed with many beautiful beaches. These have become a magnet for tourists travelling the East Coast of Australia. We have recently adopted the title ëThe Serenity Coastí which is an apt description for this charming and friendly district. The name is also adapted from the Latin root meaning of “Sarina”.
The beaches are just a 15 minute drive from the Sarina Township, and have everything you could want for a peaceful escape. Beachfront accommodation, restaurants, great fishing, safe swimming (Lifesavers are on duty at Sarina Beach), and lookouts which give magnificent views of the beaches, surrounding islands and the coal terminal. The Flat-back, Green and the endangered Loggerhead turtles use the beaches to hatch their young and these events are becoming a much sought-after attraction. Birds abound in the coastal wetlands.
The Visitor Information Centre, located in Railway Square, is a community based Cooperative of artists, craft-persons and interested friends. The Sarina Tourist Arts and Crafts and Information Centre formed in 1996 is run totally by volunteers and has become a very popular stop for travellers on the East Coast. The Centre prides itself on the vast array of local and regional information and a superb display of locally made arts and crafts provided by its members. Their charter is to promote and enhance Sarina and the surrounding areas. Self-drive tours have been compiled directing visitors to the local unspoiled beaches and around the township.
Charles Barton lookout on the Sarina Range offers a spectacular view of the fertile farmland and canefields along the Plane Creek valley.
The Port of Hay Point, is one of the biggest and most efficient coal ports in the world. The Port Administration building features a public viewing gallery offering fantastic views of the two coal terminals. The lookout at Hay Point offers spectacular views of the area, it also features a viewing platform and informational video.
Sarina District Historical Centre Inc is situated in the ‘Field of Dreams Parklands’. It is completely staffed and run by volunteers who are preserving the history of the Sarina region along with a unique display on our local Coal industry as well as history of the early cane farming days along with numerous other exhibits depicting the early and not so early history of Sarina. The volunteers have compiled 4 Volumes of local family stories as well as a comprehensive collection of history dates from the last 120 years. In the gardens take the time to read the ‘Family Plaques’ showcasing the people who have made Sarina what it is today.
Sarina Sugar Shed offers you a truly unique experience with a year round educational and tasting experience. The miniature sugar mill and distillery is the only one of its kind in Australia. An ideal adventure for all ages, experience the whole factory tour under one roof. Visitors have the opportunity to see the machinery and equipment that process sugar into the by-product molasses and the distillation process for the production of rum and other alcoholic beverages. As the sugar cane is crushed, taste the cane juice. There is a selection of delicious products for you to take home as a reminder of your visit to Sarina.
Enjoy your stay in Sarina Shire you may be Surprised
Local & Regional Visitor Information - Accommodation & Tour Information
Things to See & Do - Gifts, Souvenirs, Arts & Crafts