Townsville is located about halfway between the tip of Cape York and Brisbane. The Ross River flows from the foothills of the Hervey and Mount Stuart ranges to its outlet in Cleveland Bay, where the CBD’s skyline is dominated by the distinctive Castle Hill and Magnetic Island lies just eight kilometres offshore.
Our local government area covers 3,736 square kilometres (0.2% of the total area of the State of Queensland), and is currently experiencing rapid residential development through the Northern Beaches growth corridor.
Townsville lies in the Burdekin Dry Tropics Region, which covers approximately 95,000 square kilometres and includes Bowen, Ayr and Charters Towers.
In the low lying coastal plain there are a number of rivers, creeks and freshwater wetlands. Hills and mountains rise out of the coastal plan, creating distinctive landmarks such as Castle Hill. The long coastline features beaches, mangrove estuaries, saltpans and coastal swamps. These natural habitats support a wide range of flora and fauna including: 53 mammal species; a large number of reptiles and amphibians including land snakes, estuarine crocodiles, and a diverse range of lizard and frog species; and at least 365 bird species. Endangered, vulnerable and rare species are also found, including mahogany gliders, dugong and cassowaries.
National parks and other reserves include Magnetic Island, Paluma Range, and Bowling Green Bay National Parks; and the Cape Pallarenda and Townsville Town Common Conservation Parks. Our region is partly within and adjoins the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Queensland State Marine Park.
Our History & Heritage
Traditional owners, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba peoples, are the first known people to have lived in the Townsville area. Captain James Cook mentioned the region in 1770.
In the early 1860s, the first pastoral leases were taken out on land which later became the Thuringowa Division. In 1864, a small party was despatched to search for a site where a suitable port could be established for the boiling down and shipping of cattle. The new site was established by the mouth of Ross Creek. The name "Townsville" was adopted by the Queensland government when the township was surveyed in 1865 and declared a municipality in 1866. The Thuringowa Division was formed soon after, under the Divisional Boards Act 1879.
The new city of Townsville was formed in 2008, when the city councils of Townsville and Thuringowa were amalgamated.
Townsville has a diverse economy in which significant industries include retail trade, health and education services, government administration and defence, construction, mining, manufacturing, and property and business services.
Together, Queensland Rail and the Port of Townsville provide a transport hub for the region’s mining and agricultural industries, as well as for locally-based Xstrata Copper Refinery, Sun Metals Zinc Refinery, Queensland Nickel and the Queensland Sugar Corporation Distribution Centre.
Our city is a major service centre, and the main centre for government administration outside Brisbane. Regional health services are provided by the Townsville Hospital. There are a number of research institutions such as James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the CSIRO. Our large Australian Defence Force community, due to our army and airforce bases, also influences the local economy.
Townsville is the largest city in North Queensland and, in terms of population, is one of the fastest growing cities in the state.
- Our current official population count is 184,697 persons (Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2012).
- By 2031, our population is expected to be betweeen 263,870 and 325,929 people.
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