Police stations throughout the State were frequently used simultaneously as the local court house, police station, lock-up and residential accommodation for police officers.
Prior to the construction of this prison, 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, until 1883 when it was declared a public gaol (see agency 1529 - Police Gaol, Mackay [I]).
In 1888 a larger (five-cell), safer gaol was built on Mackay's North side (this agency - Police Gaol, Mackay [II]). 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],
At the same time, Police Gaol, Mackay [I] was declared to be a Prison, changing its name to HM Prison, Mackay [I]).
Colonial Secretary, 24 Jan 1891 - 6 Aug 1896
Home Secretary, 6 Aug 1896 - c. 31 dec 1908
Some sources have this prison closed in 1883 after its prisoners were sent to Stewart's Creek and the older Police gaol. However, other sources cite that it ceased to be used as a prison in 1908, because of increased and more efficient shipping, with prisoners being swiftly transported to better facilities at Rockhampton, Townsville and Brisbane. Later on, the premises were occupied by an institution dealing with infectious diseases.