Mackay’s first theatre – the Theatre Royal was built in 1912 next to Taylor’s Hotel in Alfred Street. The Theatre was remodeled in 1936 to cater to the expanding and growing interest in theatre productions.

In 1982, a group of citizens lead by Jack Sturgeon approached the Pioneer Shire Council and Mackay City Council to investigate the opportunity to provide a larger entertainment centre for the growing community.

In 1983, in response to community needs and the favorable results of a feasibility study, it was decided that a purpose built entertainment centre be built.

The citizens of the Mackay region were asked to raise one million dollars towards the cost of the building.

With a State Government subsidy of 20% and the balance jointly funded by councils.

Mackay Regional Theatre Building Funding Programme 1985 booklet

Local family founders – the Porter, Wright, Manning, Cook, Shepherd, Rasmussen, North Jacklin and Denny families are testament to the success of this initiative along with the Mackay Musical Comedy Players and Mackay Choral Society for their substantial contributions.

In February 1988, Queensland Governor Sir Walter Campbell officially opened the Mackay Entertainment Centre in Alfred Street.

The Mackay City Council and Pioneer Shire Council managed the Centre for six years. In 1994, the Pioneer Shire Council merged with Mackay City Council. In 2006, when three regional councils amalgamated, the Centre came under the new management of Mackay Regional Council.

Further community consultations and a feasibility study in 2004 identified a regional need for a convention centre.

Several plans and locations were considered for a stand-alone convention centre and in February 2008, construction of the newly formed Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre commenced on the existing Mackay Entertainment Centre site in Alfred Street.

Historical images supplied by the Mackay City Library Collection, courtesy of Mackay Regional Council.