Castle's fairytale history
SEVERAL generations of locals have enjoyed one of Ballina Shire's iconic tourist attractions, and Lennox Head woman Remy Tancred now wants to find photos and stories about the Macadamia Castle.
Ms Tancred is putting together a history of the castle, formerly known as Knockrow Castle, which is due to be published around Easter.
This week, she got all the castle's owners - there have only been four - together for final interviews for the book.
The castle, located on the Pacific Hwy at Knockrow, was opened on January 10, 1975, by Allan and Joyce Howard, who previously owned the Ballina Motel.
Mr Howard said it was his experience as a motel owner that inspired the castle.
He recalled that if it rained during school holidays, tourists - particularly those with families - "didn't have anywhere to go".
They decided to build a castle because they liked the fortresses they saw on a holiday to England in the 1960s.
It took three years to get final approvals for the castle, and the couple grew fruit and vegetables at the former dairy farm site in the meantime.
The negotiations included a battle with the then Department of Main Roads which argued it didn't want any disruptions to traffic flow on that section of the highway.
The location - on the north-bound side of the highway - was very deliberate.
"Most travellers going north from Sydney or Melbourne take it easy on the way up, and they fly back home," Mr Howard said.
The Howards opened a small putt-putt golf course and an animal nursery at the castle, while the next owners, Patrick and Pam Madigan, of Ballina, expanded the castle and animal nursery.
Jerome Hensen, now living in Tasmania, owned the castle from 1996-2007 and sold it to current owner Tony Gilding.
If you have stories or photographs of the castle, phone Remy Tancred on 0414 925 811.