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You can’t help but fall in love with Charters Towers
12th March 2020
Affectionately known as ‘The World,’ Charters Towers is arguably one of the most beautiful inland towns in Queensland, bursting with history, heritage and resplendent architecture off the back of the booming gold rush of the 1880s.
Once a world epicentre!
Once the second-largest city in Queensland, this grand town was at one point the epicentre of the world, influencing the world pound value from within the heady dimensions of the Stock Exchange Arcade. Residents proudly touted that you could source everything you could ever need here! Being rightly dubbed The World, at the time, the nickname has endured, still adorning the facade of the large water tank on Towers Hill to this day.
Also colloquially known as The Towers the first nugget of gold was initially discovered by a local Aboriginal boy, Jupiter Mosman. In the year 1987, Jupiter was out looking for horses that had bolted during a thunderstorm. He leant over a sandy river bed to quench his thirst when a sparkle caught his eye. Gold! Jupiter’s finding instigated an enormous influx of gold-seeking pioneers and original entrepreneurs from all over the globe.
An easy 90 minute drive from Townsville, you’ll see for yourself that The Towers is a scenic delve into the past, home to stunning parks and gardens, and some of Queensland’s most beautifully preserved historical houses. A stroll down the main street displays the grandeur of official buildings harking back to simpler, more majestic times, while a meandering drive reveals beautiful old ‘Queenslanders’ and quaint ‘miner’s cottages,’ complete with pressed tin ceilings and tongue and groove walls that would fetch a mint in the South-East corner of the state!
City of Gold lives on
What most people don’t realise, however, is that The Towers is still home to rich gold veins, many of which run beneath the very feet, and heart, of the city. The occasional underground boom can be felt, unnoticed by the locals, when the still running City Gold Mine cleaves new territory, tying the rich history of this gold mining town to the bustling modern community it is today.
Taking-in The Towers
A short drive to the summit of Towers Hill provides a more in-depth view of the past, where the local council has installed an interactive experience with a digitalized version of the city’s extraordinary history. This is a must-do for any visitor and a fantastic opportunity to snap the vast skyline west of the Great Dividing Range. You’ll admire a breathtaking vista of rocky outcrops and gently undulating hills, dotted with the Vitamin C rich ‘Chinese Apple Shrub’, a living remnant of the early Chinese gold miners.
Explore fascinating local goldfield and WWII history on the Heritage Bus Tour with Charters Towers local Erica Finlay, and also visit the Venus Battery, Australia’s largest surviving battery relic where interactive audio-visuals relay how the mill operated along with the equipment used to extract gold from the ore.
The Ghosts of Gold tour is also particularly popular, offering an eerie walk-through-time celebrating well known past identities (some of whom are rumoured to still walk the halls and streets to this day). Also visit Towers Hill to view a thirty-minute film of Ghosts after Dark, which tells more fascinating stories about the people who lived here in those days of gold, grandeur and greed.
However, if talk of ghosts gives-you-the-goonies, visit the Stock Exchange Arcade to see the Calling of the Card, an audio presentation re-enacting the trading of shares that once took place in the very same arcade. While you’re in touring mode, you also have to check-out The Miner’s Cottage located just off the main street to try your luck at panning for gold.
All-round crowd-pleaser tours!
The Texas Longhorn Tours located on the outskirts of town is another crowd-pleaser for all ages where you’ll experience an unparalleled Aussie Bush meets Old West adventure. Hosts, Mick and Lynda Bethel, will charm you with their bushie-tales and up-close-and-personal encounters with the absolute jaw-dropping (and yet completely loveable) Texas Longhorn cattle (among myriad other historical breeds, like the American Bison, African Watusi, and Scottish Highlanders). This is an absolute must-do during your Charters Towers stay!
If you’re lucky enough to be in town on the May Day weekend, do not miss the hidden (and not so hidden) talents on show at the Charters Towers Country Music Festival, and if you are a mad-keen cricketer, put the Charters Towers Goldfield Ashes on your bucket list. ‘The Ashes’ as they are referred to, is the largest social cricket competition in the Southern hemisphere celebrated annually on the Australia Day long weekend and is certainly one to catch (oh the puns) for a weekend full of larrikins and good cheer.
Or simply do what the locals do
Spend some time on the banks of the Burdekin River, listening to the paper gums talk, fishing for black bream or barramundi, and soaking-in the untamed, unapologetic beauty of the surrounding Goldfields countryside. Then head down main street and treat yourself to the country atmosphere of one of the many local pubs. You’ll find numerous quintessential establishments situated on the main and surrounding streets, all hosting historical artifacts, live music, cold beer and a ‘countery‘ (aka; a cheap pub feed!), … every-day of the week!