We Are In Charters Towers Tonight

With only an hour and a half to travel to Charters Towers from Townsville, we could take it easy. So, in the morning, we pottered around a couple of Townsville’s sights that we hadn’t yet explored. 

At the very end of The Strand in Townsville is Kissing Point Fort. It overlookis Cleveland Bay and was built as a Fort in the late 1800’s as a defence against the Russians. By 1880 a Volunteer Garrison Artillery battery was formed to man two 64 pound guns on wooden platforms that were positioned at the top of the cliffs. In 1905 a new battery command post was built and in 1936 the two 6″ guns were replaced with 4.7″ quick firing guns.

During World War 2, the Queensland Main Roads Commission built permanent foundations and engine rooms for two searchlights at Fort Kissing Point along with 4.7 inch gun emplacements with shell and cartridge magazines, ammunition stores of re-inforced concrete with steel-lined doors and window shutters, a battery command post, anti-aircraft gun positions, and access roads.


In July 1942 Japanese four-engined flying boats made three attacks on the town and harbour. Two of the three attacks involved only a single aircraft, commanded by Sub Lieutenant Mizukura Kiyoshi. The raider’s bombs fell harmlessly into the harbour or onto the ranges behind the town. The last bomb of the final raid landed at the racecourse, breaking windows in nearby houses. These small raids inflicted little damage but forced the Allies to defend northern Australia.

On the way out of town, we stopped at The Palmetum  – a botanical garden featuring one family of plants; the palms. Approximately 60 species of palms are native to Australia and most are represented. The collection contains about 300 species; many rare and threatened in their natural habitat.

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In these gardens is a memorial to the Black Hawk disaster. It commemorates the fifteen members of the Special Air Service Regiment and the three members of the Army Aviation Corps who were killed in a helicopter accident on training exercises at night in Queensland in 1996.


The vegetation along the coast is tropical rain forest. It only took a few kilometres as we travelled west until we reached a much dryer type of Savanah vegetation. For many kilometres we passed ares with obvious termite nests. 

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Termite colonies require a high level of humidity. This protects the thin-skinned workers from drying out. Only when the external humidity is close to 100% can workers leave the nest to forage. Nests are usually maintained at a temperature between 25°C – 36°C. This varies, depending on the species, the external temperature and the health of the colony. Healthy colonies are able to maintain this range during very hot and very cold external conditions.


Not far from the town of Charters Towers, we crossed the Burdekin River. A litle way down from the road bridge is a heritage-listed former railway bridge. It was built between 1896 and 1899 and designed to be 3 metres above the highest known flood level. It is also known as Macrossan Bridge.


Just over the bridge is a very interesting flood maker that shows the height that the river has reached during floods. The highest flood was in 1946 when the river reached 21.6 metres above its normal height.


Charters Towers is probably one of the most beautiful inland cities in Queensland.  It is a city built from the huge profits of goldmining and, as such, the city fathers were determined to flaunt their wealth. Today the city is beautifully preserved and the best of the buildings are concentrated on Mosman and Gill Streets in the heart of the town.. It certainly has an impressive streetscape of grand historic buildings.


The centre of the gold mining town’s financial district was at the intersection of Mosman and Gill Streets. Built in 1887-8 as a shopping arcade for a local businessman, ‘The Royal Arcade’ became the Charters Towers Stock Exchange from 1889 to 1916. The Stock Exchange was connected to the outside world via telegraph (at the time it was six days a week and there were only three calls a day), it was established to raise capital for the area’s deep reef mines. 

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Originally the Australian Bank of Commerce, the bank was built by the Australian Joint Stock Bank in 1891. The bank had a very short moment of glory as it collapsed in the following year. It was restored in 1996 as The World Theatre and is now used as a combination of civic theatre, cinema and public art gallery. 


The most striking building in town is the Post Office with its huge clock tower. The clock was added to the building in 1898 after being imported from England.

One of the best views of the town and surrounding area is from Towers Hill. It was at the base of this hill that gold was first discovered in January, 1872. Today the hill is rich in history and attractions. You can see the footings of Clarke’s mine and battery, the Rainbow Mill, the ruins of the Pyrites Works, more than 30 ammunition storage dumps from World War II and remnants of the telegraph lines from the 1950s.


There are a large number of Rock Wallabies to be seen amongst the rccks on the hill.

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One thought on “We Are In Charters Towers Tonight”

  1. Hi Bruce and Jill,
    Enjoying reading re your trip up north. Magnetic Island is well worth a visit too. We stayed for 10 days with our London family when they were over last year and loved it.
    Travel safely both of you!

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