Georgetown is a town on the Etheridge River in Far North Queensland, Australia. The Gulf Developmental Road passes through the town, linking Cairns – 412 km to the east – and Normanton – 301 km to the west. Georgetown is the administrative headquarters of Etheridge Shire Council, a local government area encompassing the nearby settlements of Mt Surprise, Forsayth and Einasleigh.
The Etheridge River was the site of a gold rush in the 1870s; the town of Georgetown was established on the site of the diggings. Originally known by the name Etheridge, the town’s name was changed in 1871 to honour an early gold commissioner, Howard St George. By 1900, grazing has replaced gold mining as the region’s primary source of income.
Georgetown owes its existence to gold which was found on the Etheridge goldfields in 1870. That same year the township which sprung up along the goldfields was named Georgetown after the assistant gold commissioner in Gilberton, a man named H. St George. The town’s main street is appropriately St George Street.
Mining in the area flourished in the 1880s but by the 1900s it was on the wane and the town became the administrative centre for the Etheridge Shire which, because of its rich and fertile red basalt soils, became prime grazing country. The cattle in the area are predominantly Brahmin and Droughtmaster.