Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding feeds the Nigerian Dwarf goats, an American breed of dwarf goat.
Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding feeds the Nigerian Dwarf goats, an American breed of dwarf goat.

Theme park celebrates 45 years

Maca birthday to you!

The Macadamia Castle will be celebrating 45 of existence this weekend.

On January 11, 1974, the Macadamia Castle opened its doors for the first time.

Then known as the Knockrow Castle, Allan and Joyce Howard had been operating a motel in Ballina and believed the region needed a tourist attraction during cold or wet weather, when visitors couldn’t spend the day at the beach and were stuck in hotel rooms.

As a child Allan had always been fascinated by castles, armour and knights and so this is where the theme behind the Castle came from.

The larger than life knight was always a part of Allan’s plan for the attraction and the six metre structure was built by local surfboard builder Bob McTavish using fibreglass sheets and installed in 1985.

Other owners of the Castle were Patrick Madigan (1989-1996), who introduced the Animal Park, Jerome Hensen (1996-2007) who changed the name to Macadamia Castle and expanded the Animal Park and when first signs of the RTA’s intentions to move the highway.

Fourth and current owner, Tony Gilding, said he has been operating the Macadamia Castle since 2007.

“A few months after taking over the Castle it became obvious to me that this is not just another business,” he said.

“In fact, I do not consider myself an owner, but rather a custodian for future generations.

“The Macadamia Castle is an important community asset and an absolute joy. But also a serious responsibility,” he said.

The Macadamia Castle turns 45 this Saturday, and staff are preparing a party to celebrate along with their community and tourists over two days: this Friday and Saturday (January 10 and 11) from 9am-4pm.

There will be a big waterslide, roaming animal keepers with animals, watermelon, zooper doopers and face painting, plus the park’s regular attractions, including the free flight bird show, the nocturnal theatre, the reptile show and the farmyard animal feeding.

All activities are free after Animal Park entry.

If you will be joining them, don’t forget to pack swimmers and sunscreen.

(Two free slides with entry or purchase an unlimited ride pass for $10.)

For details visit The Macadamia Castle’s website.


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