Caneland Central 40th birthday celebrations event manager Helen Perry dressed the part for yesterday's walk back in time, wearing a retro outfit as she explored the '70s dining room.
Caneland Central 40th birthday celebrations event manager Helen Perry dressed the part for yesterday's walk back in time, wearing a retro outfit as she explored the '70s dining room. Zizi Averill

Forty years of shopping centre style on show

FROM paisley prints and neon shoulder pads to the flannel-covered 1990s, Mackay residents are being offered the opportunity to step back in time as they explore the history of Caneland.

As part of its 40th birthday celebrations, the centre's Memory Lane exhibition, which opened last night, includes recreated rooms from the past four decades set amid an illustrated timeline detailing how Caneland evolved to meet its customers' demands.

A collaboration between Caneland Central, Mackay Historical Society and Museum and the Daily Mercury the exhibition includes a collection of photos, stories and reminiscences.

The interactive exhibition allows residents to walk through the slices of domestic history, trying on costumes and playing with the retro furnishings of each room.

For Caneland Central manager Simon De Barro, who said he felt right at home in the 'noughties' office space, it's a chance to see how Mackay residents lived in the past.

"The strength of this display is that people will be able to go back in time and remember what it was like - relive those great memories,” he said.

"Going back through the eras - it really cements your memories (of) what it was like all those years ago.”

For younger visitors, he said the exhibition was an opportunity to see how their parents lived and dressed.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, who was the MC the day Caneland opened on March 21, 1979, officially opened the exhibition last night. He also cut the centre's birthday cake with Lendlease managing director of retail Gary Horwitz, who came from Sydney for the event.

More than 50 people, including Member for Dawson George Christensen, Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert, Mackay councillors and business owners were at the opening, which began with a welcome to country by Yuibera descendant Patricia Corrie.

After the opening Thursday night shoppers packed into the Centre Court to sample some birthday cake and champagne, listen to the band Mango Junction and enjoy the children's and adults activities. Upstairs Paw Patrol performances also kept the kids busy.

When the first plans for the shopping complex were drawn, Mr De Barro said, the developers had no idea what Caneland Central would become.

Looking to the future he said shoppers should let their imaginations run wild.

"Retail is ever evolving. The shopping centre will continue to evolve.

"You'll probably see more lifestyle and entertainment precincts.

"In 10 years, hopefully, we'll be here together again and see an even bigger and better Caneland.”

Memory Lane

Memory Lane will remain open until April 18.

See the exhibition during Caneland Central's opening hours.