Homebush, a small rural township, is 23 km south-west of Mackay.

The Mackay district was first settled by Europeans in 1862 and by the following year the Homebush area was under a pastoral run. In 1867 the pastoral occupation was redefined and a separate Homebush run was established. Mackay's first sugar cane had been planted, and in a short time plantations were laid out on the alluvial lands in the Pioneer River Valley and along other waterways. The Colonial Sugar Refineries, alarmed at the growth of the Queensland industry, decided to diversify from its more southerly sugar sources, and chose Homebush on the Sandy Creek for one of its two large Queensland mills. The Homebush mill was opened in 1883.

Labour shortages in the 1890s put the cutting and supply of cane at risk, and CSR decided to release its plantation lands to small farmers, initially by lease but with the right of purchase.

Farmers and labourers had access to a local hotel, a single storey building erected in 1886, and named after General Gordon of Sudan who had died the year before. Later rebuilt as a two-storey Queenslander, the General Gordon is the best recognised heritage hotel in the Mackay district.

Although a model mill, by 1920 CSR considered that Homebush brought meagre profits and in 1921 the mill was closed and its machinery used elsewhere.

Homebush has a general store, a primary school (1889) and its impressive hotel. A mission hall (c1892-1918) built for South Sea Islanders is in Homebush Road, and it is listed on the Queensland heritage register. Homebush's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

*larger census area

Leonie Fanning, Glimpses of the past: Homebush State School centenary, Homebush, Homebush State School, 1989


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