Police stations throughout the State were frequently used simultaneously as the local court house, police station, lock-up and residential accommodation for police officers.
A small two-cell lock-up, built in the late 1860s, was the first penal institution in Mackay. Not an official prison, it housed prisoners temporarily. Under the "Act for the Regulation of Gaols, Prisons, and Houses of Correction in the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependencies and for other purposes relating thereto 1865", the Mackay Police lock-up was declared a public gaol and house of correction, on 18 Jul 1883 (Police Gaol, Mackay [I].
In 1888 a larger (five-cell), safer gaol was built on Mackay's North side (Police Gaol, Mackay [II]), and the prisoners from the old gaol [I] were sent to this new gaol [II].
In 1891, under the "Prisons Act 1890", the new Police Gaol Mackay [II] was declared a Prison (HM Prison, Mackay [II].
In 1893 HM Prison, Mackay [II] was closed. Long term prisoners were sent to the new Prison at Townsville (Stewart's Creek), and short term prisoners were sent back to the old Police Gaol, Mackay [I] which was, from then onwards and also under the "Prisons Act 1890", declared to be a Prison (HM Prison, Mackay [I]).
Colonial Secretary, 18 Jul 1883 - 6 Aug 1896
Home Secretary, 6 Aug 1896 - 19 Oct 1935
This prison was discontinued and closed by proclamation on 19 Oct 1935 under the "Prisons Act 1890". All prisoners were removed to HM Prison, Rockhampton.