Top: Proserpine Museum, Upper left: Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Upper right: Main St, Lower left: Whitsunday Regional Council Offices, Lower right: Proserpine Library, Bottom left: Ken MacPherson Memorial Gardens, Bottom right: Pioneer Park
|Elevation||20 m (66 ft)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
|LGA(s)||Whitsunday Regional Council|
Proserpine (//, locally [ˈpɹɔsəpɑen]) is a town situated on the Bruce Highway in the state of Queensland, Australia. It was founded in the 1890s. At the 2011 census, Proserpine had a population of 3,390. Proserpine is an anchor for the Whitsundays region, providing some key infrastructure, including the rail station, the mainland airport for scheduled jet services, two high schools, the hospital and other vital services. It lies around 26 km inland from Airlie Beach on the Bruce Highway and has grown from its 19th-century foundations on the success of the sugar and cattle industries. The demonym of Proserpine is Proserpinian.
The town is located along the banks of the Proserpine River and is surrounded by vast flat areas of land primarily used for cane farming. It prides itself on its friendly atmosphere and in 2007 it won the Tourism Queensland Friendliest town award. In recent years the town has started to grow again after almost 2 decades of stagnation. This growth is being driven by Proserpine's affordability compared to other locations in the region and its strategic position in relation to transport infrastructure. The town is being promoted as a viable place for workers from the mines in the Bowen Basin to live who engage in the Fly-in fly-out practice. Currently there are a number of infrastructure projects underway in the town to cater for this growth most notably the construction of the Water treatment plant on Pound Yard Road. The plant is being constructed by Lend Lease Infrastructure company Abigroup.
- 1 Name
- 2 History
- 3 Heritage listings
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Geography
- 7 Landmarks and attractions
- 8 Events
- 9 Other fairs/festivals
- 10 Sports and facilities
- 11 Education and health
- 12 Telecommunications
- 13 Transport
- 14 Government
- 15 Media
- 16 Crime
- 17 Climate
- 18 See also
- 19 References
- 20 External links
The name Proserpine was derived from the legend of the Greek goddess Persephone (whose Latin name is Proserpine). It is sometimes nicknamed "ProsVegas" (although there are no casinos in the town) or abbreviated to "Prossy" by locals. Sometimes for unknown reasons electronic devices such as iPads, smartphones and even people have difficulty in spelling/pronouncing the name correctly.
The town was founded around 1890 just after the sugar mill was constructed. The Postal Office opened in 1886. The town experienced high growth in the 1900s as the local sugar industry grew and exported raw sugar via the Proserpine Landing from here it was sent to refineries. At this time it was the fastest growing regional town in Queensland. By about the 1940s with the onset of World War 2 the towns growth started to slow.
In the 1950s the Proserpine Airport was opened which increased the towns accessibility by air. In the 1960s raw sugar exports from the landing ceased and were diverted to Mackay which further hampered the towns economic prospects. Also during this period the coastal communities of Airlie Beach and Cannonvale began to take shape which reduced the attractiveness of the town as a place to live but both communities were devastated by Cyclone Ada in January 1970 and Proserpine was left basically unaffected owing to its inland position. The 1980s saw the continuation of the trend of previous decades of lethargic growth, in 1986 construction commenced on the Peter Faust Dam 25 km NW of the town to be used for flood mitigation during the wet season and irrigation during the dry, the dam was completed in 1990 and was expected to take decades to fill but a passing cyclone helped boost levels close to maximum capacity. A new housing estate known as "John's Estate" was constructed in the south eastern part of town sometime during this decade. The 1990s saw the Proserpine Sugar Mill crush a record amount of cane in 1996.
The 2000s brought renewed growth especially in the industrial & logistic sectors with new warehouses and small businesses constructed during this time. Growth of the town really started to pick up in 2006 with the announcement of the construction of a new housing subdivision in Renwick Road. Sales were strong and construction began in mid 2007. Unfortunately due to the Global Financial Crisis and legal issues with a rival developer the developer of the subdivision went into receivership. But construction of houses has continued but the status of future yet to be constructed stages is still in doubt and it is hoped a new developer will purchase the estate soon and continue with the masterplan as Stage 1 and 2 are almost at fully capacity.
Proserpine has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
At the 2011 Census the population of Proserpine is 3,390 and is 49.5% male and 50.5% female.
The median/average age of the Proserpine population is 39 years of age, 2 years above the Australian average.
The country of birth of people living in Proserpine is 2.4% England, 0.6% Philippines, 0.5% South Africa, 0.4% Italy, 2.1% New Zealand.
92.5% of people speak English as their first language 0.4% Tagalog, 0.2% German, 0.2% French, 0.6% Italian, 0.1% Spanish.
The religious make up of Proserpine is 22.9% Anglican, 3.7% Presbyterian and Reformed, 12.6% Uniting Church, 17.1% No Religion, 25.5% Catholic.
46.6% of people are married, 31.2% have never married and 9.7% are separated or divorced. There are 227 widowed people living in Proserpine.
The median individual income is $520.00 per week and the median household income is $929.00 per week.
29.6% are fully owned, and 28.1% are in the process of being purchased by home loan mortgage. 38.4% of homes are rented.
The median rent in Proserpine is $230 per week and the median mortgage repayment is $1517 per month.
Proserpine Historical population: 1901: 136, 1911: 1102, 1933: 2177, 1961: 2753, 1981: 3058, 2001: 3250, 2006: 3316, 2011: 3390
The towns population while rising only gradually in recent decades is picking up speed as new residents (including fly-in, fly-out mine workers) move to the area and recognise the affordability and greater access to services Proserpine offers compared to surrounding towns such as Airlie Beach & Cannonvale. It is also important to note Proserpine's suitability for future population growth due to its abundant flat land and distance from sensitive environmental areas such as the Conway National Park.
Service and administration
Proserpine is an anchor and the main service and administration centre for the region. It provides some key infrastructure including the rail station, mainland airport, 2 high schools (1 public, 1 catholic), the hospital and other vital services. Whitsunday Regional Council also has its main offices in Proserpine.
Industrial & Manufacturing
There are numerous businesses that specialise in light manufacturing of goods and these are mainly situated around the south western part of town. With some located at various other locations.
Due to the towns location along the important arterial road the Bruce Highway the town hosts some transportation depots which are critical in the effective distribution of a variety of goods across the region.
The town has one small shopping centre known as "Freshfields Plaza" whose major tenant is Woolworths, it also has a few speciality stores including a liquor store and newsagency.
As of May 2013 most of the towns retail stores, professional offices are clustered in the Main Street area with a renovation of the landmark building (former Faust's Department Store) ongoing. It was announced in April that the Reject Shop would be the new tenant. A Subway restaurant was completed in early June and is now operational.
One of the town's main industries is sugar growing. In the NW corner of the Central Business District is a large factory known as the Proserpine Mill. It was established in 1897 and is one of the town's biggest employers at the present time. Due to recent difficulties it was placed into administration on 6 November 2011 and KordaMentha was appointed as the administrators. On 9 December 2011 the Proserpine Sugar Mill was sold to Sucrogen a division of Wilmar International. It is now recognised as one of the most modern sugar mills in the world.
Proserpine is approximately 15 minutes drive to Airlie Beach. While largely missing out on the benefits of tourism the town has seen interest of late from backpackers who wish to make the town a base for their stay on the Whitsunday mainland, some even travel to nearby Bowen to do fruit picking/packing. Proserpine is in relatively close proximity to notable attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. The town has a number of motels located strategically fronting the Bruce Highway.
Dittmer is the location of the largest gold find in the Whitsundays; it is 20 km to the SW of Proserpine. The Dittmer Gold Mine has been closed since the 1960s.
The land around Proserpine is relatively flat. Some of the land is flood prone during the wet season but most of the land is less flood-prone then it used to be prior to the construction of the Peter Faust Dam. Clarke Range is located to the west, northwards is Dryander National Park and to the east is Conway National Park.
The Clarke Range to the west of the town contains the small, former gold mining town of Dittmer and provide a dramatic backdrop to the area. A lot of the land around the town is zoned "GQAL" (Good Quality Agricultural Land) and this acts as a constraint to housing developments in the town. The local council has attempted to alleviate this by zoning the land to the south of the town as "Emerging Community" which means it is able to be developed. Housing development is occurring in these areas. A smaller housing development has been built on the northern side of town with relatively larger land size.
Landmarks and attractions
• Proserpine Mill chimneys. Twin chimneys that are 62m tall (equivalent to 18 stories) and dominate the skyline.
• Proserpine water tower and associated mural.
• Art Deco façades in Main St. A lot of the shops in Main St have art deco façades. Most are in disrepair and require restoration.
• Proserpine Historical Museum – A museum run by local volunteers located on the Bruce Highway.
• Peter Faust Dam located 22 km west of Proserpine is a dam popular with fisherman and watersports enthusiasts.
The PBR (Professional Bull Riders) event is held every year in September (dates vary) at the Proserpine Showgrounds. Attendance numbers usually range from 2,000–3,000. In 2008 an estimated 2,132 people attended.
The Proserpine Show is held at the Proserpine Showground around 24–25 June. It is a typical show with carnival rides, sideshow alley and fireworks.
The Harvest Festival is generally held in October, around the 20th of the month, as a celebration of the end of sugar crushing at the mill. It includes carnival rides at Les Stagg Oval and a parade with floats through the Main Street. In recent years the festival has not run due to a lack of volunteers.
The Proserpine Rotary Christmas Fair is an annual event held on 16 December. Main Street is closed off and stall holders take the place of cars. Most shops open or stay open until late and take advantage of the increased business by offering discounts, special deals.
In past years general festivals/fairs have been held usually in Main Street. In recent years the frequency of such events has been decreasing but there is a desire amongst the community for a revival.
Sports and facilities
Les Stagg Oval
Les Stagg Oval is located on the western side of the railway tracks and the Whitsunday Brahmans are based there. There is also a BMX track, skate park and half court basketball courts located in the vicinity of the oval.
Proserpine sporting complex
Proserpine Junior/Senior Sporting Complex is a medium sized facility located on the western edge of town at the intersection of Crystalbrook and Kelsey Creek Road. Sports that it caters for are junior/senior cricket, soccer and football. Night games can be played at the eastern end of the facility.
The Proserpine Showground is located in the south-western corner of the town and is used for various events such as auctions, swap meats, car boot sales, softball but the main event that attracts the largest amount of attendees is the Proserpine Show which is held on 24 and 25 June. In 2012, the Proserpine show celebrated 100years at the showground.
Education and health
Proserpine has two local public schools: Proserpine State Primary School and Proserpine State High School. There is also a private Catholic school, Saint Catherine's. Saint Catherine's recently opened a secondary campus on Renwick Road to cater for growth in its enrolment numbers. It is a modern campus with all necessary facilities. The two public schools recently finished building multi-purpose halls and a new language center at Proserpine State High for the study of Asian languages as part of the Federal Governments "Building the Education revolution" program. On June 8, 2013, Proserpine State High School will celebrate its centenary. It has been at its present site in Sterry Street since 1963 and was previously located where the Entertainment Centre stands today.
The Proserpine Hospital in Taylor St is the main hospital for the Whitsunday Region and is a modern facility which provides many services among them are CT (X-ray computed tomography), Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and Antenatal. It has a 24hour Emergency Department. It also features a Helipad on the opposite side of Taylor street which is used for more serious emergencies. It is nearing capacity as the towns population and region as a whole grows. The local community centre had to relocate from the hospital to a temporary site to facilitate the expansion of hospital services. A brand new community centre is expected to start construction soon in the eastern part of town. It is anticipated that a larger facility will have to be built sometime in the next decade as the current site is limited in expansion opportunities.
Internet services are still relatively basic in the town with access only to ADSL. The National Broadband Network (NBN) announced on May 5, 2013 that Proserpine had been added to the construction timetable for its FTTH network and expects to either have construction well underway or be offering services by June 2016. It has also submitted applications to build wireless towers near to the town to service areas that won't fall in the fibre footprint. Mobile broadband using Telstra's 3G network is available but speeds are slower than other areas. It is unclear at this point in time when/if Telstra will rollout its 4G (LTE) network to the Proserpine area. Phone services both landline and mobile are adequate.
There are bus services to and from Airlie Beach and a connection service to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport. The main bus stations are located in Mill Street (in front of Mill Street Park) and Blair Sreet (outside of the BP Service station).
Taxi services operate 24/7 in the town and a taxi rank is located outside the courthouse. Taxi's aren't as widely used in Proserpine than other areas of the region and this is mainly due to availability. The taxi companies are based in Airlie Beach and due to the length of time between dispatch and arrival most Proserpinians consider the local taxi's an unviable form of Transport. Cost is also a factor.
Proserpine has daily flights to the state capital Brisbane that depart from Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport which is located 10 km to the south of the town in the locality of Gunyarra. The local council is campaigning for more flights to be re-introduced including services to Sydney and Melbourne. The airport was opened in 1951 and the first flight landed at it on November 3 the same year. It was a flight from Brisbane in a Douglas DC-3.
The terminal recently underwent an upgrade in 2010/11 and the newly upgraded terminal was officially opened on December 20, 2011. This upgrade provided an expanded parking area with the introduction of paid parking, new luggage carousel, more check-in counters and an overall new look. The local council announced in early 2013 that it was considering entering a partnership with a private company to further expand the terminal to triple its present size. It is hoped then the airport will cater for international flights from countries such as China, Japan and New Zealand which are important markets for the local tourism industry. Designs for this new terminal were displayed at the 2013 Avalon International Airshow in Avalon, Victoria.
Access to the airport is via the Bruce Highway and Sir Reginald Ansett Drive by either private vehicle, or by bus.
Proserpine is located on the North Coast railway line, Queensland and has services between Brisbane and Cairns provided by the Sunlander and Tilt Train which depart from Proserpine Station located in Hinschen St almost at the geographical center of the town. It was opened on July 2, 1910 and Governor Sir William MacGregor was in attendance having arrived on a special train, the opening was timed to coincide with the Proserpine Show. Regular services to Bowen commenced on July 18 (was later connected to Mackay and subsequently Brisbane). The station is fairly long and is also used for freight. It has restroom facilities, covered waiting areas, arrival and departure announcements and coaches that provide connections to surrounding areas meet every arriving train. The station itself dissects the town with two level crossings at the Northern (Faust Street) and Southern (Anzac Road) ends. When molasses is being loaded at the Mill or passengers are boarding/disembarking at the station occasionally both level crossings can be impassable and local residents can be seen trying to circumvent this by driving between the two as the train moves slowly forward as is the case when the molasses is being loaded, usually this ends in minor frustration for the driver but this happens only occasionally and usually does not last a considerable amount of time.
Proserpine is locally governed by Whitsunday Regional Council, a product of amalgamation of the former Shire of Whitsunday with the former Shire of Bowen. The mayor is Jennifer Whitney. Jason Costigan is the member for the state seat of Whitsunday and George Christensen is the federal member for Dawson. Voting in elections is usually conducted at the Magistrates Court. Proserpine is division 2 in the Whitsunday Regional Council area and the current councillor representing division 2 is John Collins.
Proserpine is served by several radio stations including the Hot FM and Sea FM networks, MY105 FM Hot Country and Legends, 4MK AM, Zinc FM and the ABC's local Tropical North station.
The town receives broadcasts from five television networks – Seven Queensland, WIN (an affiliate of the Nine Network), Southern Cross Ten, ABC TV and SBS One. All networks also provide additional digital only television stations.
Of the three main commercial networks, Seven Queensland and WIN produce 30-minute local news bulletins each weeknight (both produced from local newsrooms, but broadcast from studios elsewhere in the state – Maroochydore and Toowoomba respectively) with WIN also producing a state-wide late news bulletin for regional Queensland. Southern Cross Ten also provides short local news updates throughout the day.
The towns local paper is the Whitsunday Coast Guardian (historically and still known by locals as the Proserpine Guardian) which used to be printed in the Guardian building on Chapman St but is now printed in Townsville. The Whitsunday Times also serves the town but is more oriented towards the coastal communities of the region but does occasionally cover Proserpine news.
Proserpine has an average/below average crime rate for a town of its size. The most common crimes committed are drinking driving, minor property theft, vandalism and hooning. The police station is located in Mill Street and the Proserpine Magistrates Court is located adjacent on the intersection of Mill and Main Streets.
Proserpine's climate consists of two main seasons. The "Wet Season" (November to April) and The "dry season" (May to November). The wet season is usually relatively humid with high rainfall in most years and the dry season is cool and pleasant with scarce rainfall and low humidity. Summer is mild compared to other locations such as Townsville and Cairns and this is a drawcard for new people moving to the town. Peak season though especially for tourism is during the winter months owing to the reliable extended runs of clear weather which are ideal for outdoor activities.
The town has a humid subtropical climate (CWa) under the Köppen climate classification. During winter temperatures in outlying areas sometimes dip below zero but rarely in Proserpine itself due to the Urban heat island effect. The same occurs with Fog as it is usually denser in locations out of town. The highest rainfall in the region occurs to the north east of the town in the Conway National Park with places such as Preston receiving more rainfall than Proserpine. The localities of Midge Point, Hideaway Bay, Crystalbrook, Kelsey Creek are usually the driest in the region owing to influences such as distance from the ocean and rain shadows.
The area has been affected by tropical cyclones most significantly Cyclone Ada in January 1970 and Cyclone Ului in March 2010. It was also affected (but to a lesser extent than southern and western areas) by the 2009 Australian dust storm.
A cyclone shelter was completed in February 2013 at Proserpine State Primary School and was a joint project between the Queensland Government and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi the latter committing $30million AUD towards the cyclone shelter program for which the community is very thankful. At more than 1,500 square metres, they can provide shelter for up to 800 people and are equipped with features to ensure people’s comfort and safety, such as a backup generator, a kitchen, 10 toilets and five showers. Mr Faisal Saif Almazrouei, Third Secretary at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attended the official opening of the Proserpine Shelter on March 26, 2013.
|Climate data for Proserpine Post Office (closed 1989)|
|Record high °C (°F)||41.7
|Average high °C (°F)||32.0
|Average low °C (°F)||22.5
|Record low °C (°F)||18.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||379.4
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- Bureau of Meteorology Retrieved 2007-11-22.
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- New Catholic school approved. Whitsunday Times. APN News & Media. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- (17 February 2011). St Catherine's School, Proserpine (Yr 5–7). Catholic Education Office Diocese of Townsville. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
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