When Jeremiah Armitage came to Mackay in the early 1870s as a timber merchant he purchased a 105 acre selection with ocean frontages. He named this area after the island of Eimeo (Ah-ee-may-o, Moorea) meaning ‘My only home’ it’s near Tahiti in the Society Islands.
At the time of purchase he turned his attention to fruit growing to supplement his income. In April 1880 he opened a newly completed boarding house and postal office overlooking the sea. Eimeo swiftly became one of Mackays first tourist destinations with a beautiful 9 acre garden stocked with fruit trees, and visitors were invited to enjoy “sea bathing, yachting, fishing and shooting”. Still standing today is the dramatic avenue of mango trees delineating the track leading up to the Eimeo.
A collection of historical photos is on display around the hotel areas. We are keen to build upon the history of the Eimeo, if you have any information do not hesitate to let us know.
In October 1890 the Queensland government appointed J Armitage Superintendent of Coconut Palm Planting on the coastal islands for the use of shipwrecked sailors. Sadly Armitage was declared insolvent (as is ironically repeated over the years) in 1893 and the property passed to his mortgagor, the Queensland National Bank. Armitage retained some connection with the area, being listed as an apiarist at Eimeo in the 1900 Queensland Post Office Directory.
The bank leased the property to George Francis Bridgman, after obtaining the title of the property he passed it to Mackay publican Martin Hassett in 1913, and in 1915 to another William Thomas Eyles. From at least Eyles’ occupation, the business was known as the Eimeo Hotel. In November 1919 title to the whole of the property was transferred to Charles Louis Albert Brown. In 1920 he carried out the first subdivision of the 105 acre property creating a number of beachfront residential allotments. In the mid-1920s the track leading to the Eimeo Hotel was surveyed as a public lane, this became known as Mango Avenue. In 1923 the bulk of the property, including the Eimeo Hotel, was transferred to Arthur James Wallis Mowlam, then to James Amstead in 1926. Their names are perpetuated in nearby streets.
In late 1932 title to the hotel site, on a reduced parcel of just under 9 acres, was transferred to Mrs Lavinia Walters, who demolished the building and constructed a new Eimeo Hotel in 1934, using some of the materials from the demolition. She purchased an old Anglican parish hall and moved it to the site to form an annex. An open-air dance floor and skating rink was built on the property. She is credited with being instrumental in having a bitumen road built between Eimeo and Mackay in 1938. In the early 1940s, during World War II, the Eimeo Hotel was occupied by American servicemen on rest and recreation leave from New Guinea. The present Pacific Hotel on the site dates from 1954. The original coconut palms were removed in the 1990s, but the mango trees along Mango Avenue, between Whittles Lane and Heidke Street, survive and remain a heritage listed tourist attraction.