Charters Towers

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Charters Towers
Queensland
Charters Towers, Australia.jpg
Aerial view of the town
Charters Towers is located in Queensland
Charters Towers
Charters Towers
Coordinates 20°06′0″S 146°16′0″E / 20.10000°S 146.26667°E / -20.10000; 146.26667Coordinates: 20°06′0″S 146°16′0″E / 20.10000°S 146.26667°E / -20.10000; 146.26667
Population 8,234 (2011)[1]
Postcode(s) 4820
Elevation 309.8 m (1,016 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
Location
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[edit]

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 Hugh Mosman, James Fraser and George Clarke. Their horses bolted after a flash of lightning. While he was searching Jupiter found both the horses and a nugget of gold in a creek at the base of Towers Hill.[2] Charters originated from the Gold Commissioner, W.S.E.M. Charters.[3] A total of ten major gold reefs were eventually mined.[2]

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.[citation needed] 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. The town was officially declared in 1877 with John McDonald being elected the town's first mayor.[3]

Charters Towers Post Office opened on 17 May 1872.[4]

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.[5] The unique site remains intact today, together with a cyanide treatment plant and assay office.

By 1917 gold mining became uneconomic.[5] 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.

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]

Heritage listings[edit]

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

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

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

Economy[edit]

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

Mining[edit]

It has been estimated that there exists more gold underground than the total removed in the gold rush.[38] 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.[38] 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.[38]

Education[edit]

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

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 and Western Australia 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.

Geography and climate[edit]

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.[39] Charters Towers obtains its water supply from the nearby Burdekin River.

Media and communications[edit]

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.[40] 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.[40] 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.

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.[41]

The Goldfield Ashes[edit]

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.[42] 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.

Mayors[edit]

In the early period of local government in Queensland, elections for aldermen were held annually and the mayor was elected from among the aldermen. Later the mayor became directly elected but still on an annual basis. Finally there was the move to three-year election cycles.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

A Rugby league team from Charters Towers (1915)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Charters Towers (Urban centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Charters Towers Story. Citigold Corporation. January 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e "World History". Charters Towers Regional Council. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Cook, Penny (2006). Discover Queensland Heritage. Corinda, Queensland: Pictorial Press Australia. p. 25. ISBN 1876561424. 
  6. ^ "Church of Christ, Charters Towers (entry 16009)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Hann Family Grave (entry 16526)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Boer War Veterans Memorial Kiosk and Lissner Park (entry 15172)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Charters Towers Airfield Bore Sight Range and Compass Swinging Platform (entry 30492)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Aldborough (entry 29433)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Signals, Crane and Subway, Charters Towers Railway Station (entry 3235)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Fossey's Store, Charters Towers (entry 16022)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Bank of New South Wales (former) (entry 33098)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Charters Towers Police Station (entry 15176)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Bell Tower, St Columba's Church (entry 15174)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Breddan Airfield (entry 30493)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "School of Mines, Charters Towers (entry 15177)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Charters Towers Court House (entry 15178)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Ay Ot Lookout (entry 15179)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Thornburgh House (entry 15180)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Venus State Battery (entry 15188)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "Bartlam's Store (former) (entry 15184)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "ED Miles Mining Exchange (former) (entry 3103)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Stock Exchange Arcade (entry 15181)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Australian Bank of Commerce (former) (entry 15182)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lyall's Jewellery Shop (entry 15183)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "Day Dawn PC No.3 Shaft mine remains (entry 17021)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Pfeiffer House (former) (entry 15185)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  29. ^ "Charters Towers Masonic Lodge (entry 15186)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Civic Club (entry 15173)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  31. ^ "Towers Hill (entry 16588)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  32. ^ "Charters Towers Gold Mine Shafts and Remains (entry 17034)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  33. ^ "Stone kerbing, channels and footbridges of Charters Towers (entry 19633)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  34. ^ "Burdekin River Pumping Station (former) (entry 15854)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  35. ^ "Lolworth Creek Battery (entry 16586)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "Eureka Hotel (former) (entry 15698)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  37. ^ "Burdekin River Rail Bridge (former) (entry 15217)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  38. ^ a b c "Mining Overview". Citigold Corporation. January 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  39. ^ Dry Tropics.org: Evaluation of climate data for North Queensland/Brisbane
  40. ^ a b JCU: Historical Notes on North Queensland Newspapers – Charters Towers
  41. ^ "About Us". The Charters Towers E-village. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  42. ^ goldfieldashes.com.au, 2008
  43. ^ a b "MUNICIPAL HISTORY.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 22 December 1925. p. 11. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  44. ^ "Personal". The Advertiser. 5 August 1914. p. 19. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  45. ^ Missingham, David (1896), Letters (biographical metadata for library holdings), retrieved 19 September 2012 
  46. ^ "CHARTERS TOWERS MAYOR.". Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 12 April 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  47. ^ "2008 Charters Towers Regional Council – Mayoral Election – Election Summary". Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  48. ^ "Council Information: Councillors". Retrieved 19 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Charters Towers, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons