Growing Regional Communities, Kim's Blog, Uncategorized

Booms and busts, what does the future hold for Mackay?

Kim Houghton

I’ve been in Mackay again this week, my third visit in about 5 years. And what a great place it is and what an interesting period it has been. Mackay is the regional service centre and port town for the Bowen Basin, an area with large volumes of coking (metallurgical) and thermal (steaming for electricity generation) coal.

Mackay is a standout “muscle town”, a moniker that was coined, I suspect, by well known demographer Bernard Salt, who is very good at finding a catchy name for a demographic phenomenon.

A muscle town is one that has seen rapid growth through a role as regional centre servicing a large mining area. So it is not the mine-site village. It is the ‘big smoke’ a couple of hundred kilometres away which has become the port (often literally) through which a mining region or a mining basin is accessed, and through which a…

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