Georgetown

A pleasant but sleepy small town in the Newcastle Range on the Etheridge River. The focal point of the Etheridge goldfield, Georgetown is renowned for its semi-precious stones, including topaz, quartz, spinel, garnet, cairngorm aquamarine and sapphires.

Location: 412 km south west of Cairns; 301 km east of Normanton; 560 km from Townsville; 299 m above sea level.

Georgetown came to life during the Etheridge gold rush of 1870. It is today a centre for prime Brahman and Droughtmaster beef grazing country. Relics of the famous gold rush days can still be found throughout the district.

The Cumberland Chimney

Built by Cornish masons, it is all that remains of a crushing plant, or mill, that contracted to surrounding mines to crush their gold bearing ore. The Cumberland Chimney sits next to a lagoon which was designed and built to collect water by establishing a series of earthwork channels and a dam.

Fossicking

The Etheridge goldfield has never been worked out. Modern day prospectors armed with metal detectors still search around Mt Surprise, O’Briens Creek, Forsayth and Agate Creek for specimens such as coloured topaz, agates, sapphires, smoky quartz and other precious stones as well as nuggets of gold. A permit is required for any form of fossicking.

TerrEstrial

Houses the Ted Elliott mineral collection. The work of one man, this collection contains over 4500 mineral specimens in a myriad of fascinating colours and shapes from the region and throughout the world.

Tallaroo Hot Springs

(60 km east) has been closed since 2006/7 due to the present owners’ work load and preference for the operation of the Tallaroo cattle station.

Cobbold Gorge

Located within the rugged sandstone formations that dominate the local area 50 km from Georgetown. This stunning gorge is extremely narrow, closing to a mere two meters wide in places, with spectacular 30 metre cliffs on either side. The Cobbold Gorge area is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Native fish abound in these waters, and of course, the freshwater or johnstone river crocodiles. A large variety of birds frequent the lower waterhole.


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Regional places of interest: Newcastle Range; Copperfield Gorge; Etheridge River; Mount Surprise; gemfields of O’Briens Creek (topaz) and Agate Creek (120 km south, jasper, quartz and agates); Forsayth gem fields, Tallaroo Hot Springs, Undara Lava Tubes; Cumberland Chimney (remnant of an old gold crushing plant built by Cornish masons); Cobbold and Copperfield Gorges Aboriginal rock art galleries.

Brief history

The town came to life during the Etheridge gold rush of 1870. By the early 1900s, mining had fallen into decline but the town became the administrative centre for the Etheridge Shire which, because of its rich and fertile red basalt soils, became prime Brahman and Droughtmaster beef grazing country.

Origin of name: named after the assistant gold commissioner at Gilberton, Henry St George. The town’s main street is appropriately named St George Street.

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