Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Charters Towers QLD

Charters Towers

Postcode: 4820

Charters Towers is a city in northern Queensland, Australia. It is located 135 kilometres south-west from Townsville on the Flinders Highway.

Charters Towers is a centre for the beef industry and is particularly known for the number of boarding schools which cater for remote rural families. It obtains its water supply from the nearby Burdekin River.

The town was founded in the 1870s when gold was found in the area, and rapidly grew to become a regional centre. Many of the older buildings of the mining boom remain, giving a distinct character to a town which appears out of place in a dry arid region. Although quite a few still exist in Charters Towers, many of the distinctive miner’s cottages were dismantled after the boom times and relocated to Townsville and other places, where large numbers of these galvanised iron dwellings are still in use.

In the boom years, between 1872 and 1899, Charters Towers operated the only Stock Exchange in Australia outside of a capital city. During this period, the population was approximately 27,000, making Charters Towers Queensland’s largest city outside of Brisbane. The City was also affectionately known as ‘The World’, as it was said that anything one might desire could be had in the ‘Towers’, leaving no reason to travel elsewhere.

The Charters Towers gold field produced over 200 tonnes (6.6 million troy ounces) of gold from 1871-1917. The gold is concentrated into veins and was Australia’s richest major field with an average grade of 34 grams per tonne. The grade was almost double that of Victorian mines and almost 75 per cent higher than the grades of Western Australian (Kalgoorlie) gold fields of that time. Today, Charters Towers has still stuck to its routes with the town holding many festivities such as the country music festival and many more.