If you live on the Far North Coast, there’s a pretty good chance that sometime in the last 45 years you’ve seen the big knight on your approach to the Macadamia Castle.
On the January in 1974 the Macadamia Castle opened its doors. 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.
The fourth and current owner Tony Gilding has been operating the Macadamia Castle since 2007.
Gilding says that a few months after taking over the Castle it became obvious that the Castle was not just another business. ‘I do not consider myself an owner, but rather a custodian for future generations,’ he says. ‘The Macadamia Castle is an important community asset and an absolute joy. But also a serious responsibility.
The Macadamia Castle turned 45 on Saturday and the venue was open for a huge party to celebrate.