Halifax is a small sugar cane town in the Shire of Hinchinbrook, on
the Herbert River. Motorists must pass through Halifax to reach
Lucinda. Situated in the Herbert River valley, Halifax is north-east of
the Victoria Estate sugar crushing mill and the Macknade mill, both
owned by CSR.
Location: 15 km northeast of Ingham; 130 km north of Townsville; 230 km south of Cairns.
Brief history: Halifax is named after nearby Halifax Bay, which was
charted and named by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. The Earl of Halifax
(George Montagu Dunk, 1716-71) was Secretary of State in England during
1763-65. The district was opened for selection after George Dalrymple's
expedition from Port Hinchinbrook (Cardwell) in 1864, and developed as
a sugar growing district. The town began when August Anderssen, a
blacksmith, purchased the land in 1880, after which time the land was
turned into sugar plantations. With other settlers Anderssen developed
sugar plantations, and the rudiments of the settlement - a hotel (1881)
and store - were established.
The town prospered, and through the 1880s was equal in importance to
Ingham. The development of a sugar tram line from Ingham to a deepwater
port at Lucinda during the mid-1890s effectively marginalised Halifax
as a service hub for the sugar industry. Despite its eclipse by Ingham,
Halifax evolved a range of civic and cultural institutions, its
population peaking just under the 900 mark in the 1950s.
View Larger Map
That many Italian families migrated to Halifax and the surrounding
area after 1900 to service the fledgling sugar industry is evidenced by
the large number of gravestones of Italians in the town cemetery. Their
headstones are grand, and the names difficult to decipher, particularly
as there is an Italian habit of reversing the order of the names.