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Charters Towers

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Charters Towers

Charters Towers
Aerial view of the town
Charters Towers is located in Queensland
Charters Towers
Population 8,234 (2011)[1]
Postcode(s) 4820
Elevation 309.8 m (1,016 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
LGA(s) Charters Towers Region
State electorate(s) Dalrymple
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
30.3 °C
87 °F
17.7 °C
64 °F
659.5 mm
26 in

Charters Towers is a city in northern Queensland, Australia. It is 134 kilometres (83 mi) inland (south-west) from Townsville on the Flinders Highway. In 2011 the population was 8,234 people.[1] During the last quarter of the 19th century the town boomed as the rich gold deposits under the city were developed. After becoming uneconomic in the 20th century, profitable mining operations have commenced once again.


  • History 1
  • Heritage listings 2
    • Target Country Charters Towers 2.1
  • Economy 3
    • Mining 3.1
    • Education 3.2
  • Geography and climate 4
  • Media and communications 5
  • The Goldfield Ashes 6
  • Notable people 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Crushing works at Enterprise Mill, 1877
Mosman Street, ~1888
Charters Towers mining settlement circa 1890
Pithead, ~1891
Funeral cortege passing the Waverley Hotel, ca. 1906

The town was founded in the 1870s when gold was discovered by chance at Towers Hill on Christmas Eve 1871 by 12-year-old Aboriginal boy, Jupiter Mosman. Jupiter was with a small group of prospectors including

  • University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Charters Towers
  • Charters Towers City Council website

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^ a b c d Charters Towers Story. Citigold Corporation. January 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "World History". Charters Towers Regional Council. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  4. ^ 28 Vic No. 21 (Imp)
  5. ^ "Agency ID11207, Charters Towers Municipal Council".  
  6. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Cook, Penny (2006). Discover Queensland Heritage. Corinda, Queensland: Pictorial Press Australia. p. 25.  
  8. ^ "Church of Christ, Charters Towers (entry 601245)".  
  9. ^ "Hann Family Grave (entry 601789)".  
  10. ^ "Boer War Veterans Memorial Kiosk and Lissner Park (entry 600397)".  
  11. ^ "Charters Towers Airfield Bore Sight Range and Compass Swinging Platform (entry 602739)".  
  12. ^ "Aldborough (entry 602668)".  
  13. ^ "Signals, Crane and Subway, Charters Towers Railway Station (entry 602627)".  
  14. ^ "Fossey's Store, Charters Towers (entry 601259)".  
  15. ^ "Bank of New South Wales (former) (entry 602804)".  
  16. ^ "Charters Towers Police Station (entry 600401)".  
  17. ^ "Bell Tower, St Columba's Church (entry 600399)".  
  18. ^ "Breddan Airfield (entry 602745)".  
  19. ^ "School of Mines, Charters Towers (entry 600402)".  
  20. ^ "Charters Towers Court House (entry 600403)".  
  21. ^ "Ay Ot Lookout (entry 600404)".  
  22. ^ "Thornburgh House (entry 600405)".  
  23. ^ "Venus State Battery (entry 600413)".  
  24. ^ "Bartlam's Store (former) (entry 600409)".  
  25. ^ "ED Miles Mining Exchange (former) (entry 602801)".  
  26. ^ "Stock Exchange Arcade (entry 600406)".  
  27. ^ "Australian Bank of Commerce (former) (entry 600407)".  
  28. ^ "Lyall's Jewellery Shop (entry 600408)".  
  29. ^ "Day Dawn PC No.3 Shaft mine remains (entry 602200)".  
  30. ^ "Pfeiffer House (former) (entry 600410)".  
  31. ^ "Charters Towers Masonic Lodge (entry 600411)".  
  32. ^ "Civic Club (entry 600398)".  
  33. ^ "Towers Hill (entry 601851)".  
  34. ^ "Charters Towers Gold Mine Shafts and Remains (entry 602221)".  
  35. ^ "Stone kerbing, channels and footbridges of Charters Towers (entry 602512)".  
  36. ^ "Burdekin River Pumping Station (former) (entry 601081)".  
  37. ^ "Lolworth Creek Battery (entry 601849)".  
  38. ^ "Eureka Hotel (former) (entry 600923)".  
  39. ^ "Burdekin River Rail Bridge (former) (entry 600442)".  
  40. ^ a b c "Mining Overview". Citigold Corporation. January 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  41. ^ Dry Evaluation of climate data for North Queensland/Brisbane
  42. ^ a b JCU: Historical Notes on North Queensland Newspapers – Charters Towers
  43. ^ "About Us". The Charters Towers E-village. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  44. ^, 2008
  45. ^ Kyle, Noeline J. (1993). "Allan, Margaret Theadora (1889–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  46. ^ Barker, Anthony (1990). "Timms, Edward Vivian (1895–1960)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 


See also

  • Margaret Theadora Allan (1889–1968), community worker[45]
  • Cecil Aynsley, member of the Queensland rugby league team of the century
  • Daisy Bates, Irish-Australian journalist and welfare worker, known for her work with indigenous Australians
  • Dave Evans, first lead singer of AC/DC from 1973 to 1974
  • Jackie French, Australian author
  • William Edward Harney, Australian writer
  • Wilhelm Iwan (1871–1958), author, historian, and theologian (lived in Charters Towers for nine years and wrote a book describing his experiences)
  • Bob Katter, Australian politician
  • Lieutenant Colonel Tom Mills MC & Bar (1908–1978), was born in Charters Towers
  • Breaker Morant, Australian drover, horseman and soldier, spent some years in Charters Towers
  • Andrew Symonds, Australian Test cricketer, spent much of his early childhood in Charters Towers
  • Edward Vivian Timms (1895–1960), novelist and scriptwriter[46]

For mayors of Charters Towers, see City of Charters Towers#Mayors.

A Rugby league team from Charters Towers (1915)

Notable people

The Charters Towers Goldfield Ashes has been an amateur cricket carnival conducted over the long week-end in January since 1948 by the Charters Towers Cricket Association Incorporated (CTCA), and it is now the largest in the southern hemisphere.[44] Players ranging from regional and the country to play. Numbers in recent years have reached just shy of 200 teams. The event is of massive benefit for the town bringing in business for the entire region, especially the town's pubs and clubs. While the higher grades take it very seriously with awards and prizes given, the lower grades take to a more social view. Games involving drinking penalties and costume wearing are all part of the antics. In 2010, more teams were involved than ever. However, the competition did not reach the magic two hundred team only because of the lack of fields in the region. Many of the fields are concrete pitches on the properties of local families in the region.

The Goldfield Ashes

The Charters Towers E-Village launched in 2011 and provides a location where people can connect with the Charters Towers community. The E-Village is the creation of local resident, Bryan West, following his frustration at not being able to find a suitable date for a Kindergarten working bee. It includes a community calendar, member pages for all Charters Towers organisations, a database of services available within and to the community, classifieds, daily weather, and an online shop. It has a daily news service that originates and aggregates content from and relevant to the Charters Towers community, which is delivered through a Facebook page and free daily newsletter. Because it has a lower than national proportion of households with reliable internet access, the Charters Towers E-Village installed a free public wireless internet service in the main street of the town, in conjunction with local businesses. Since its inception in 2011, it has grown to receive about 1,500 visits each day. The E-village derives its income from related web-services, with any profits being returned to the Charters Towers community.[43]

The Northern Miner newspaper (not to be confused with The Northern Miner, a mining publication in Canada) was first published in August 1872, just eight months after the discovery of gold.[42] Such was its strength in those gold mining days of the late 1880s that The Northern Miner installed a then revolutionary linotype slug casting machine before Brisbane's The Courier Mail. It was the only newspaper (of five published during the boom gold years) that survives today.[42] In 2000, The Northern Miner was linked for the first time to the North Queensland Newspaper Company and therefore News Limited's electronic layout system and website.

Media and communications

Charters Towers township is mildly elevated at 300 metres above sea-level, but this has a noticeable effect, with lower humidity and bigger temperature variations than nearby Townsville.[41] Charters Towers obtains its water supply from the nearby Burdekin River.

Geography and climate

Charters Towers has four secondary schools: Columba Catholic College; Blackheath and Thornburgh College; All Souls St Gabriels School; and Charters Towers State High School. The nearest university is the James Cook University, in Townsville. Charters Towers is well known as a boarding school town, with families from western Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the Torres Strait Islands sending their children to school in the district, over the larger cities in the area such as Townsville and Cairns. The Alliance of Charters Towers State Schools represents the five State schools in the area that are funded by the Queensland Government.

Former Municipal Library
Gill Street, ~1914
Township, ~1906


It has been estimated that there exists more gold underground than the total removed in the gold rush.[40] Hundreds of separate mining leases covering an area of 200 square kilometres were consolidated by James Lynch in the 1970s and 1980s and the company Citigold listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 1993. After 89 years the goldfields were reopened and gold was produced again from the Warrior Mine 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) southeast of the town in November 2006 by Citigold Corporation Limited. Gold is mined from two deposits which are accessed by sloping tunnels.[40] The extracted gold ore is trucked about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south west of the city for processing into gold Doré bars. Citigold has announced plans to open three mines directly under the city to extract gold at a rate of 250,000 ounces per year.[40]


Charters Towers is a regional centre for the mining industry, the beef industry and education, specifically boarding schools catering for remote rural families.


At 18 Gill Street the heritage listed former department store of Stan Pollard & Coy. was a Fosseys and is now most likely the only Target or Target Country store which features leadlight windows.

Interior Target Country Charters Towers, North Queensland
Exterior Target Country Charters Towers, North Queensland

Target Country Charters Towers

There are also a number of heritage sites in the surrounding area of Charters Towers, including:

Charters Towers has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Brilliant and St. George Mill and works, 1904
Mining operations, ~1897
Day Dawn Block and Wyndham Mines, 1897

Heritage listings

The Charters Towers gold field produced over 200 tonnes (6.6 million troy ounces) of gold from 1871–1917.[2] The gold is concentrated into veins and was Australia's richest major field with an average grade of 34 grams per tonne. The grade was almost double that of Victorian mines and almost 75% higher than the grades of Western Australian (Kalgoorlie) gold fields of that time.[2]

By 1917 gold mining became uneconomic.[7] During World War I labour was hard to find, and as the mines drove deeper, ventilation and water problems arose. This production decline was similar across Australian gold mines, with rising costs and a fixed gold price eroding profitability. The town entered a long period of relative stagnation and little further development has occurred since.

A 20 head of stamps mill began ore crushing operations on 16 July 1872. The Venus Battery continued to be used by small mine in the region until 1971.[7] The unique site remains intact today, together with a cyanide treatment plant and assay office.

Charters Towers Post Office opened on 17 May 1872.[6]

The Borough of Charters Towers was proclaimed on 21 June 1877 under the Municipal Institutions Act 1864 with John McDonald being elected the town's first mayor.[3][4][5] The local government area would later be known as Town of Charters Towers and City of Charters Towers, before being absorbed into the Charters Towers Region.

Such were the boom years, between 1872 and 1899, that Charters Towers hosted its own stock exchange. A railway between Charters Towers and the coastal port of Townsville was completed in December 1882.[3] During this period, the population was approximately 30,000, making Charters Towers Queensland's largest city outside of Brisbane. The city was also affectionately known as 'The World',[3] as it was said that anything one might desire could be had in the 'Towers', leaving no reason to travel elsewhere.

[2] A total of ten major gold reefs were eventually mined.[3] Charters originated from the Gold Commissioner, W.S.E.M. Charters.[2]

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