Things to do
The outback town, the heart of the gold rush. Charters Towers is a tourist hotspot for the old and young alike. With many attractions and a small yet active community. Enjoy your stay with our recommended must-see attractions.
Charters Towers is located in the north region of Queensland, 130 km south-west of Townsville. Charters Towers is a heritage town, once Queensland’s richest gold-mining area during its gold boom from 1872 until the early 20th century. The town now services a large pastoral region. It has many things of interest for the tourist including a large Country Music Festival held each year, Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival, Pastoral Agricultural and Mining Show, and the Restorer’s Club Swap Meet (on show are vintage cars and equipment).
Charters Towers focal point was once the Stock Exchange, built in 1887 as the Royal Arcade and converted into a stock exchange in 1890. Once the only stock exchange in Australia with three calls a day, it ceased in late 1910’s with the building left to decay until the National Trust purchased the building in the early 1970s and restored it as an arcade of shops. The glass roofed arcades were a form of building that was popular in Europe at the close of the 19th century.
The town of Charters Towers typifies the rapid changes that occurred as a result of the discovery of gold in Queensland. Charters Towers’ golden age lasted from the 1880’s till 1900. The population grew from 7,000 to over 20,000. The town had four newspapers, fifty-eight pubs, grand theatres and horse drawn cabs. Theatrical companies came from all over Australia to play in the Towers’ theatres. Products and produce from all over the world could be bought and many grand public and private buildings were erected. Charters Towers became known as the World.
From the 1880’s on as the shafts cut deeper into the gold reefs and as the extraction process became more efficient gold production soared, to over 12,000 kilograms in 1899, the peak year of production. That’s over $200 million worth of gold in today’s figures. Charters Towers became the goldfield of the north and drew people and capital to north Queensland.
Unlike other goldfields discovered in Queensland, the seemingly never ending reefs of Charters Towers guaranteed long-term stability and therefore investment and development potential. For many years Charters Towers was the second city of Queensland and the engine room of much of the development of the north. It was for a brief time the World.