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Charters Towers

A booming town during the gold rush of the 1880s, Charters Towers is located approximately 130 kilometres south-west of Townsville on the Flinders Highway/Overlanders Way. Today you can still see evidence of those early days with many museums, tours and country style shops to showcase the history of the goldfields.

Take a walk down Gill and Mosman Streets in the centre of town for many great examples of colonial architecture of the late 1800s. Stop in at the World Theatre, originally the Australian Bank of Commerce and now housing a state-of-the-art cinema and 660 seat auditorium arts facility. Continue to The Miner's Cottage in Deane Street where you can try your hand at panning for gold.

If you are here at the end of April, be sure to go to the 10 Days in the Towers Festival. Held during the last week of April and the first week of May each year, the festival celebrates country music, bush poetry and all sorts of outback fun. It culminates with the Charters Towers Country Music Festival on the final weekend.

Or, for a truly unique outback experience, head to Leahton Park. Here you can meet JR, one of the ranch's Longhorns who holds the Guinness World Record for the beast with the longest horns, sample damper and billy tea direct from the campfire or step back in time with a covered wagon ride.

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Queensland
Australia

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The World Theatre

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
Explore the World Theatre, a cultural complex where the unique blend of heritage architecture and state of the art technology meet. Browse at your own leisure. Check with their friendly staff for details of the live shows, movie times, morning melodies and the free local and touring exhibitions of art, sculpture, photography and more. Ask them about the 'murder on Mosman'.

Wings Mini Four Wheel Drive

Multiple Locations
From AU$155.00 - 155.00
Wings half day Mini Four Wheel Drive tour will take you exploring the amazing Whitsunday hinterlands in their mini Four Wheel Drives. Enjoy scenic trails through the grasslands, marshlands, wetlands, creek beds and mud pits. Tackle the man made obstacle challenge area where the log hop, tyre crawl and off camber challenge are just some of the exciting challenges awaiting you. Finish with the mud pit challenge area with everyone getting a chance to have a splash.

Stock Exchange Arcade and Assay Mining Museum

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
The Stock Exchange Arcade was designed by Sydney architect Mark Day and built by Sandbrook Brothers of Sydney in 1888. This prestigious shop and office arcade was built for local civic leader and businessman Alexander Malcolm. Known then as the Royal Arcade, it housed the Charters Towers Stock Exchange from 1890. It was one of Australia's first few regional stock exchanges and was needed to raise capital for the deep reef mines throughout the region. The Stock Exchange was linked into the world via telegraph, with three calls a day, six days a week. At one time the price of gold was set in the very Arcade, an indication of the importance of the Charters Towers' economy at the time. The stockbrokers offices have now been converted into shops. Don't miss the "Calling of the Card," a ghostly reminder of Charters Towers' golden days when just a touch of greed echoed in these stately walls. The Assay Mining Museum is located at the back of the Arcade and contains articles used in the assaying of gold in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are also interesting dioramas of gold mines and workings from this era.

Dalrymple National Park

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
Ancient lava flows, fossilised limestone and the Burdekin River, the largest river in Queensland, are features of this park in the Charters Towers area. Mount Keelbottom rises 130 metres above the surrounding plain and part of the old Dalrymple township site can be found in the park. It was one of the first inland settlements in northern Australia and has links with the discovery of gold in the area in the mid-1800s. Parts of the township are privately owned. Please respect private property signs. In the dry season, bush camp along the sandy edges of the Burdekin River. Explore the undeveloped walking trails that follow the river and Fletcher Creek, and discover basalt flows and a peaceful riverside setting. Longer hikes to Mount Keelbottom should only be undertaken by well-equipped and experienced walkers. Watch waterbirds from the river's edge. Ride trail-bikes and mountain bikes on the internal roads through the park.

Venus Gold Battery

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Located on the outskirts of town, the Venus Gold Battery offers an insight into an amazing real-life gold rush of the late 19th century. The battery is of national cultural significance as the largest surviving battery relic in Australia and the oldest surviving battery in Queensland. Constructed in 1872, it was a public or custom mill in its heyday and became a State Battery in 1919 to provide ore crushing facilities for small miners long after other mills had closed. It ceased commercial operations in 1973 after a century of service. Guided tours are available daily at the battery. One of the highlights is a fascinating film presentation that shows not only the process of extracting gold from ore, but also the story of the battery's working life and some of its ghosts.

Pioneer Cemetery

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
The Pioneer Cemetery contains the graves of those buried from 1872 - 1895 and gives insight into the hardships these pioneers faced during the goldfield days. Mining accidents, fires, murders, child birth and general hardship are some of the reasons that there are more than 5,000 people buried in the early cemetery. Cemetery records are available for viewing at the Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre.

Historic Ambulance Centre

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
The Historic Ambulance Centre dates back to 1903 and was restored and reopened to the public 100 years from its first opening. The centre was the first ambulance station outside of Brisbane and houses a wonderful collection of vehicles, uniforms and an enormous number of log books recording the cases treated by ambulance officers during the past 100 years. The centre is open on Sundays and at other times by appointment.

Zara Clark Museum

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
This National Trust museum houses a large collection of photographs, equipment and other memorabilia that reflects Charters Towers' golden and military past. Their friendly volunteers are only too willing to share their special stories and demonstrate some of the equipment that is housed in the historic Burns Philp building, built in 1888. Ask for a demonstration of the flying fox (the Lampson Aerial Cash System from the old Pollards building). There are many other items too that will pull you into the drama and excitement that was Charters Towers 130 odd years ago. History buffs and collectors can put themselves to the test with the Museum's display of objects that so far have defied efforts to identify or date and the volunteers are delighted to show them off. Charters Towers has a proud military history from the Boer to Vietnam wars, housed in the Charles Wallace Military display. One of the more poignant pieces from World War I is a pair of half knitted socks, abandoned when a mum received news that her son had been killed, they are displayed exactly as she left them 100 years ago. Allow half an hour at least.

Centenary Park

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
Centenary Park has gold discovery monuments, picnic tables, toilets, gas barbecues, a children's playground, liberty swing and is always cool and shady. Make sure you take a picture of the Bat Statue created and designed as part of the 2013 LATTE exhibition. Centenary Park also has an interesting history. The area was first gazetted as reserve for public purposes in 1888. In 1941 the last gazette order in council set aside the area as a reserve for park purposes and named it "Sayers Park" after Robert John Sayers. From the city's very early days, Centenary Park was called "Harvey's Reserve", no doubt because Joseph Harvey, a local butcher built and lived in "Tower Villa", an old Queenslander style home that still faces out over the north east corner of the Reserve. During 1972 the Park was re-named "Centenary Oval" as part of the city's centenary celebrations. The 1941 naming had mostly been forgotten by this time, although "Harvey's Reserve" is still the name used by older cricketers.

Charters Towers Memorial Cenotaph

Charters Towers, Charters Towers Area
Free Entry
Queenslander's loved their soldier statue, known as the 'Digger', symbolising innocence, youth, heroism, courage and mateship. When Charters Towers' war memorial was refurbished and rededicated on 11 November 2005, the cenotaph included a solemn soldier, head bowed and rifle pointing downwards. It was originally unveiled to honour those who fought in WWI and WWII, in November 1955. At that time it included an electric light in the shape of a flame, burning continually atop the nine metre tall stone pillar. Memorials were rare in Australia before WWI. The outpouring of grief at the loss of 60,000 young Australian men, buried where they fell in Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, created a wave of monuments, from soldier statues to memorial parks, rolls of honour to empty tomb-like pavilions. The roll of honour provides an insight into local patriotism of the day, all who enlisted were volunteers willing to fight for the British Empire.
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