While tourists flock to Townsville to get away from the hustle and bustle, few are aware of the town’s illustrious history. Here are some fascinating aspects of Townsville’s past.

Richard Daintree creator QS:P170,Q7325074, StateLibQld 1 137127 Panoramic view of Townsville and surrounds, ca. 1870, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

A De Facto Capital

Founded as far back as 1864, Townsville traces its origins to the pastoral industry that was burgeoning in North Queensland around the time. With the gold discovery first near Ravenswood and then at Charters Towers, Townsville developed from its humble origins to become the main hub of activity in the region and the eyes of historians, the de facto capital.

First Landowners

The communities that occupied Townsville before it was established were primarily the Wulgurukaba People and the Bindal People. The latter identified their homeland as “Thul Garrie Waja” while the “canoe people” known as the Wulgurukaba called their land of origin “Gurrumbilbarra”.

James Cook and the Colonisation of the Natives

It was in 1770 that Captain James Cook landed on the eastern shores of Australia and although he did not come into contact with the indigenous communities living in the area, he did note their presence. It was nearly 200 years later, on the 16th of September, that the Australian flag was introduced and unveiled in a grand ceremony in the Town Hall building of Townsville. The event was attended by the Earl of Hopetoun, the first Governor-General in the country.

Townsville Today

Although tourists based at Oaks Townsville Metropole Hotel or any one of the other Townsville accommodation apartments may be unaware of it, there are several historic points of interest open to visitors in town. This includes the Jezzine Barracks and the National Trust Heritage Centre.