Our history

Snapshots throughout the 61 years of Gladstone Harbour Festival tell a story of community spirits, family fun and live entertainment under brilliant blue skies. What began as a way to keep people entertained after the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is now the event of the year for the Gladstone community.

The first Yacht Race was staged in 1949, with seven yachts sailing the 309 nautical miles north from Brisbane. A Gladstone plumber, Douglas Norris first came up with the idea that there needed to be celebration at the end of the yacht race.

After he saw the start of the race in Brisbane in 1962, on return to Gladstone he saw familiar faces waiting for the yachts to arrive. A committee with the interested locals formed and Mr. Norris was appointed President. The first one day festival went ahead on Easter Monday in 1963, with the week before full of 'Back to Gladstone' activities.

Over the years the festival grew and gradually becoming the full long weekend event it is today.