Aerial image of Proserpine
|Population||3,562 (2016 census)|
|• Density||141.91/km2 (367.6/sq mi)|
|Elevation||20 m (66 ft)|
|Area||25.1 km2 (9.7 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10)|
Proserpine (//) is a town and a locality in the Whitsunday Region, Queensland, Australia. Founded in the 1890s, it is the administrative/service centre and gateway to the Whitsunday Region by road, rail and air. At the 2016 census, Proserpine had a population of 3,562. Proserpine is expected to grow rapidly due to its ample land for development, investment in infrastructure and its affordability for first home buyers and families. It is also planned to become an export hub for produce from the northern region which will further boost employment. The town has seen significant public and private investment in recent years and is a popular area for new residents to the region with ex residents of places like Sydney finding Proserpine an attractive town to migrate to, the town currently holds the top ranking for suburbs in the Mackay/Whitsunday region on Homely.com.au when ranked by infrastructure, education, sporting facilities. It is also popular among golfers with the only 18 hole course on the mainland.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Heritage listings
- 4 Facilities
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Tourism
- 7 Economy
- 8 Landmarks and attractions
- 9 Events
- 10 Sports and facilities
- 11 Education and health
- 12 Telecommunications
- 13 Utilities
- 14 Transport
- 15 Government
- 16 Media
- 17 Community groups
- 18 Notable people from Proserpine
- 19 In popular culture
- 20 Climate
- 21 See also
- 22 References
- 23 External links
Proserpine is situated on the Bruce Highway and is a major stopping point for vehicular traffic.
The town is located along the banks of the Proserpine River and is surrounded by vast flat areas of land currently primarily used for sugarcane farming and urban expansion. 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 backdrop to the area.
Proserpine was founded in the 1890s, 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.
In 1944 the Australian Field Experimental Station was constructed at Gunyarra just south of the town, this accommodated 600 staff from the AIF, AMF, RAAF, Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS), Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS), Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF), United Kingdom (UK) Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), UK scientists from Porton, England, Australian civilian scientists, and observers from New Zealand Navy, South African Army, United States, and Australian Chemical Defence Board. It was constructed to test and research the effectiveness of Mustard Gas in tropical conditions.
In the 1950s the Proserpine Airport was opened which increased the towns accessibility by air. In 1986 construction commenced on the Peter Faust Dam 25 kilometres (16 mi) north-west 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. The 1990s saw the Proserpine Sugar Mill crush a record amount of cane in 1996.
The Proserpine Library opened in 1998 and had a major refurbishment in 2011.
Proserpine is shaping up to be the growth centre for the Whitsunday Region with access to a vast array of facilities, affordable land and close proximity to the airport and economic developments working in its favour. In 2017 the Whitsunday Regional Council released the Proserpine Town Master Plan, intended to drive growth and much needed major improvements to town amenities and infrastructure. The first project to come to fruition of this plan is a Waterpark.
In 2019 the Australian Labor Party committed funding towards the future construction of a new Entertainment Centre—this is a new $10 million project, the Liberal Party of Australia has also indicated its intention to fund this new project and announcements are expected to be made before the 2019 Australian federal election. It was also announced a new mobile specialist clinic will be servicing the town from mid 2019 providing specialist services to the community reducing the need for travel to other centers.
Major seafood company Tassal is spending $30 million in 2019 on expanding and upgrading its prawn farm in Proserpine.
Heritage-listed sites include:
Proserpine is a major hub for the Whitsundays region, providing important infrastructure, including the rail station, the main airport for domestic and future International services, two high schools and primary schools, the region's only medium-sized modern hospital and other services. It is a future base for workers involved in nearby mines including the $22 billion Adani Carmichael coal project and the future industrial hub of the region. The Proserpine Community Centre opened in 2014 and provides a range of social services and spaces to the community.
In 2007 it won the Tourism Queensland Friendliest town award. Proserpine is growing steadily and this growth trajectory will be boosted by its airport becoming International standard in 2017/18, its affordability for new home buyers/builders and its short commute distance to the mines and all the best the region has to offer.
The Proserpine Library is located at 12 Main Street.
In the 2016 census, Proserpine recorded a population of 3,562 people. This is up from the 2011 count. It is expected this upward trend will continue and accelerate.
Proserpine is the gateway to the Whitsunday Region and nearby Great Barrier Reef with most flights to the region from all 3 major capitals arriving at the towns airport, the regions only rail terminus receiving regular services north to Cairns connecting Proserpine with cities such as Townsville and Cairns and south to Brisbane connecting it to cities like Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast and ultimately Roma Street station in the Brisbane CBD. Bus services such as Greyhound and Premier Motor Service also service the town due to its location on the A1 Bruce Highway, it is also the first town tourists visit heading north in the region.
Tourism is increasing in Proserpine with new attractions planned including camping and recreation at the nearby Lake Proserpine, a free RV park, a Waterpark at the Proserpine Pool and an expansion of the Whitsunday Gold Coffee farm and farmers markets on the north side of the town, other attractions include the Proserpine Museum, Crocodile Safari at Glen Isla, Fishing at Lake Proserpine.
Service and administration
Proserpine is the Main hub and service/administration centre for the region. It provides important social and transport 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. Due to the extensive damage to the Proserpine Council Chambers as a result of Cyclone Debbie in March 2017, a new administration building for Whitsunday Regional Council will be built from 2019 onward for over $6 million. The council employs over 100+ people in this office.
Industrial & Manufacturing
Manufacturing in the town is growing and some of the products produced include window frames, bottled water, concrete products, metal products, kitchen cabinets, timber products etc.
Due to the towns location along the important arterial road, the Bruce Highway, the town hosts transportation depots which play an integral part in the effective distribution of a variety of goods across the region. It is also hoped the development of an inter-modal transport hub at the Proserpine airport that the town could become a logistical hub for greater North Queensland. In June 2017 international Swedish furniture manufacturer and retailer IKEA opened a distribution point in the town's main business park.
The town has a small shopping centre known as "Freshfields Plaza" whose major tenant is Woolworths, it also has a few specialty stores including a liquor store, hair and beauty store and a newsagency.
Many of the towns retail stores, professional offices are clustered in the Main Street area. New developments are planned in coming years.
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. It is now recognised as one of the most modern sugar mills in the world.
Dittmer is the location of the largest gold find in the Whitsundays; it is 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the SW of Proserpine. The Dittmer Gold Mine has been closed since the 1960s, mining and panning for gold for commercial and recreational purposes still occurs in the vicinity.
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.
• Proserpine WaterPark, opened August 17, 2018, a waterpark featuring interactive waterplay for the enjoyment of all ages
• Art Deco façades in Main St.
• Fishing/crabbing in the Proserpine River
• The four pubs attract locals and visitors for authentic pub food and drinks.
• Fishing/crabbing in the Proserpine River.
• Crocodile safari tour in the Proserpine River.
• Proserpine rock-wallaby statue outside the council HQ is a popular spot with tourists for taking photos.
• Proserpine Historical Museum – A museum run by local volunteers.
• Proserpine Entertainment Centre – Used for various events/functions including movies, funerals, matinées, and concert dances.
• Peter Faust Dam located 22 kilometres (14 mi) west of Proserpine is a dam popular with fisherman and watersports enthusiasts.
• Nearby beaches such as Wilson's Beach & Conway Beach.
• Nearby national parks such as the Cathu State Forest, Proserpine National Park, Dryander National Park and the Conway National Park.
- Proserpine Show – held at the Proserpine Showground around 24–25 June. It is a typical show with carnival rides, sideshow alley and fireworks and has run continuously for 105 years since 1912 with only one exception during WWI.
- Flower Show – Held annually in September.
- Harvest Festival – Historical event held to celebrate the end of the annual sugar crushing season.
- Rotary Christmas Fair – Held in December in the Main Street.
Sports and facilities
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 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 under high-powered halogen lighting. Many events have been held at the facility including the yearly event the Paul Bowman Challenge which celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year, it is a rugby league event and 54 teams from around the region and other surrounding regions participate, it regularly attracts over 1,000 spectators. Recent cricket events include a match involving the Queensland Bulls on 15 September and cricketing greats such as Allan Border, Jimmy Maher, Ian Healy and Michael Kasprowicz were in attendance.
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 100 years at the showground.
The Whitsunday Raceway motorbike track and dirt riders club is located to the south of the town, these facilities have been constructed for racing, driver training and hosting of competitive events. The facility was opened in 2011 and has hosted the Australian Supermoto Championships. This has helped attract lovers of motorbike racing and dirt riding to Proserpine. The facility is expected to grow in future years as more events are held and support of the club grows. BMW has launched new products at the raceway starting with the BMW G310R in 2017
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. St Catherine's is undergoing another expansion in 2018/19 as part of a $3.2 million federal government grant to better cater to demand from the Proserpine community.
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 8 June 2013 Proserpine State High School celebrated its centenary. It has been at its present site in Sterry Street since 1963 and was previously located where the Entertainment Centre stands today.
On March 13, 2019 a new $20 million upgrade and expansion was launched by Education Minister Grace Grace. Stage 1 of this project will include the construction of a new two-level learning centre comprising five classrooms, one flexible learning area, a design studio and covered under-croft area, with the potential to add an extra four classrooms later, this is expected to be completed by December 2019. Stage 2 of the project expected to start in July 2019 is the construction of a new performing arts centre, this is due for completion in late 2020.
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.
Internet services are of excellent standard in the town with access to high speed internet via the National Broadband Network and 4G LTE mobile services available from all major carriers including Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and others.
The town is supplied water by the company SunWater from the nearby Peter Faust Dam that was constructed in 1990 for flood mitigation purposes. The water is treated at the water treatment plant.
Ergon Energy supplies power to the town via the Proserpine Substation complex on Kelsey Creek road which is connected to its main transmission lines.
A new fire and rescue station opened in 2018, this is a major investment in the emergency services in Proserpine. The new facility is on Hinschen Street and replaces the station located in Main Street.
Burials for the town and immediate region are conducted at the Proserpine Cemetery on the western edge of the town. The cemetery opened in the late 1880s. The cemetery is divided into "New" and "Old" sections. The new section being the lawn cemetery that opened in the 1980s and the old section being the original section that opened in the late 1880s. The lawn cemetery also includes a columbarium for the interment of ashes.
There are Whitsunday Transit 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 Street (outside of the BP service station).
Taxi services operate 24/7 in the town and a taxi rank is located outside the courthouse.
Proserpine Airport has flights to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne. The airport opened in 1951 and the first flight landed at it in November of 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 20 December 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. Access to the airport is via the Bruce Highway and Sir Reginald Ansett Drive by either private vehicle, or by bus.
Starting in May 2018 the airport will receive a terminal expansion as part of a strategy to position the airport to become an international airport catering for long haul flights.
The airport is used for training by No 36 Squadron of the RAAF using its C-17 Globemaster III. It is expected in future that it will be increasingly used as a training base by the defense force. It is one of the few airports in the country that can support C-17 operations.
Proserpine is located on the North Coast line and has services between Brisbane and Cairns provided by the Spirit of Queensland which depart from Proserpine station located in Hinschen Street almost at the geographical centre of the town. It was opened on 2 July 1910 and Governor 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 18 July 1910 (was later connected to Mackay and subsequently Brisbane). The station is fairly long, modern and well maintained 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.
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 Andrew Wilcox. 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 deputy mayor 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 TEN Network), Southern Cross Nine, ABC TV and SBS. 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 statewide late news bulletin for regional Queensland. Southern Cross Nine also provides a one-hour Queensland bulletin. 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.
Notable people from Proserpine
- Sidney Cotton Australian inventor, photographer and aviation and photography pioneer.
- Sam Faust Australian professional rugby league player.
- Andrew Fraser Queensland State Politician.
- Max Grosskreutz Australian speedway rider.
- Travis Waddell Australian professional rugby league footballer, plays for Newcastle Knights
- Lindsay Waddington, Australian country music singer.
In popular culture
Proserpine's climate consists of two main seasons. The "Wet Season" (November to April) and The "dry season" (May to November).
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 $30 million 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 26 March 2013.
|Climate data for Proserpine Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||41.2
|Average high °C (°F)||31.4
|Average low °C (°F)||22.6
|Record low °C (°F)||15.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||290.1
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