Townsville, Australia

Townsville is a coastal city in Queensland, Australia. It faces the central part of the Great Barrier Reef, and is the biggest settlement along the Sunshine Coast. Townsville has a population of around 190,000 people (2012 estimate).

More on Townsville

Until the arrival of Europeans, the Townsville area was inhabited by a number of indigenous groups including the Wulgurukaba people, the Bindal, the Girrugubba, the Warakamai and the Nawagi people, among others. The first European to pass through the area was Captain James Cook in 1770. He did not actually land there, though he did give names to a number of geographic features in the area including Cape Cleveland and Magnetic Island.

The first Europeans to actually land on the shore at Townsville were Captain Phillip Parker King and botanis Alan Cunningham in 1819. In 1845, James Morril was shipwrecked in the area. He was rescued by the Bindal people, and he lived with them for 17 years before he was found.

Townsville was established to support the inland cattle industry. The earliest settlers came in 1864. It was named Townsville in 1866, in honor of Australian financier Robert Towns, who funded its establishment. It grew rapidly as a major port supporting the surrounding region, which was being opened for pastoral and sugar industries. By the late 19th century, it was receiving an influx of Japanese immigrants working in the plantations, leading to the first Consulate of Japan for Australia being established in Townsville.

Since the 1970s Townsville as modernized, with many of its older neighborhoods undergoing gentrification. The city developed as a major tourist destination, being the base for visiting Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef. Its economy also includes mineral processing, port services, pastoral, sugar and timber.

Visiting Townsville

You can fly to Townsville on Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia. There are regular flights from

Sydney, Brisbane, Mackay, Cairns and Hamilton Island. The National Highway A1 (Bruce Highway) connects Townsville with all the major towns and cities of Queensland.

Sights & Attractions to visit in Townsville

  1. Great Barrier Reef
    Coral reef in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland. Regarded as the world’s largest coral reef system, it was recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1981.

  2. Museum of Tropical Queensland
    Museum encasing the relics of the sunken vessel HMS Pandora. Opened in 1987, it showcases the natural history, archaeology and social history of Townsville.

  3. ReefHQ
    Aquarium showcasing the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef.

  4. Riverway
    Riverfront parkland in Condon, a suburb of Townsville. It stretches over a distance of 11 km.

  5. Ross River
    The river that flows from Lake Ross through Townsville, forming the main waterway for the city. It is also its main source of drinking water.

  6. The Strand
    Shorefront area of Townsville where a number of development has taken place, including a jetty, a park, numerous restaurants and entertainment venues.

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