Charters Towers

The mining town of Charters Towers is outstanding among Queensland towns for its historic character and appeal, which is derived in the main from its interesting collection of 19th and early 20th century buildings and streetscapes. The town centre, with its banks, shops and community buildings, remains much as it was in the 1920s, an evocative reminder of the past and an outstanding part of Queensland's heritage. The town is today chiefly a centre for the surrounding beef cattle properties.

Where is it?: Queensland: Far North. Charters Towers is 137 km south west of Townsville where the Flinders Highway and Great Inland Way intersect.

Events: 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, and it is now the largest in the southern hemisphere.

The Charters Towers Country Music Festival is held every May Day long weekend. The Charters Towers Restorers Club Motor Show and Swap Meet is held over the Queens Birthday weekend (early June) each year.

Things to see and do

Mosman Street was the centre for banking and commerce in the 19th century, and near its intersection with Gill Street stands the Stock Exchange. Built as a shopping arcade in 1887-8 it was in use as a stock exchange in 1890. Other buildings in the street, including those opposite and at either end of the group, have been retained and re-used, and several old hotels remain in residential use.

The buildings of Mosman Street feature fine classical revival and Victorian Italianate detailing. Gill Street, the main shopping street, contains a fascinating range of premises ranging from small timber shops to a theatre, and an emporium. The street has one of the longest rows of verandah posts in Australia.

Leahton Park (10 km) has the largest pure-bred Texas Longhorn cattle herd in Australia. These cattle are direct descendents of the the millions of Texas Longhorns that walked in the great trail herds north from Texas in the late 1800's. Here you can take a horse drawn wagon ride and a trip back in time.

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Charters Towers has a fascinating Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail to celebrate the city's golden heritage. Ghost of Gold is a whole town experience which incorporates today's existing sites that were tied in with the city's gold rush. Walk through the grand Stock Exchange Arcade, which is brought to life with the Calling of the Card - a re-enactment of how the gold was traded over 100 years ago. You van also take a guided tour of the Venus Battery, Queensland's oldest intact gold mill, where over $790 million worth of gold (in today's value) has been processed.

About Charters Towers

A range of hills rises to the west of the town and it was these that attracted the prospector Hugh Mosman and his party, who discovered gold in 1871. The prospectors named the hills Charters Tors after WS Charters, the mining warden of Ravenswood, their point of departure.

As with most mining towns, the first settlement was a shantytown, with activity centred on alluvial mining. However, with the discovery of reef gold and the prospect of permanent settlement, more substantial timber buildings were erected, which in turn were replaced in the boom of the 1880s and 1890s. The buildings now standing in Mosman Street are probably the third or fourth to be erected on this site.

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