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Mackay is a city and its centre suburb in the Mackay Region on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. It is located about 970km north of Brisbane, on the Pioneer River. Mackay is nicknamed the sugar capital of Australia because its region produces more than a third of Australia's cane sugar.There is controversy about the location of the region for administrative purposes, with most people referring to it as a part of either Central Queensland or North Queensland. Indeed, much confusion lies within the Queensland Government, with government services being provided through both Townsville (North Queensland) and Rockhampton (Central Queensland). Generally, the area is known as the Mackay–Whitsunday Region.NameThe city was named after John Mackay. In 1860, he was the leader of an expedition into the Pioneer Valley. Initially Mackay proposed to name the river Mackay River after his father George Mackay. Thomas Henry Fitzgerald surveyed the township and proposed it was called Alexandra after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who married Prince Edward (later King Edward VII). However, in 1862 the river was renamed to be the Pioneer River, after the HMS Pioneer in which Queensland Governor George Bowen travelled to the area, and the township name was changed to be Mackay in honour of John Mackay. Fitzgerald then decided to use the name Alexandra for his sugar cane plantation and sugar mill, which eventually provided the name to the Mackay suburb of Alexandra today.Mackay is in Queensland. Explore the family-friendly attractions of Mackay and add them to your vacation plans using our Australia travel route planner .
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