Charters Towers

Charters Towers, Queensland

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.

History

Gold was discovered by a 12 year old Aboriginal boy called Jupiter (ref: http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050348b.htm), on Christmas Eve 1871. Jupiter was with a small group of prospectors, Hugh Mosman, James Fraser and George Clarke. Their horses bolted after a flash of lightning and Jupiter was sent to search for them. He found the horses and a nugget of gold at the base of Towers Hill. Jupiter's Casinos in Townsville and on the Gold Coast are named after the boy and his lucky strike.

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 railway reached Charters Towers on 14 December 1882.

By 1917 gold mining became uneconomic. During World War I manpower was hard to find, and as the mines drove deeper, ventilation and water problems arose. This production decline was similar across Australia with rising costs and a fixed gold price eroding profitability.

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 roots with the town holding many festivities such as the country music festival and many more.

Education

Charters Towers currently has four high schools in the area, these four are: Columba Catholic College, Blackheath and Thornborough College, All Souls Saint Gabriels School and Charters Towers State High School. All of those schools are welcoming newcomers each and every day.

Mining

Today there remains more gold underground than the total removed in the gold rush of the late 1800s when 6.6 million ounces (212 tonnes) of gold was extracted from 6 million tons of ore in 180 km of underground drives at a grade of 34 grams per tonne (1.1 ounces per ton). Hundreds of separate mining leases covering an area of 200 square kilometers were consolidated by James Lynch in the 1970s and 1980s and the company Citigold listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 1993. After 89 years the goldfields are being reopened and gold was produced again from the Warrior Mine 4 km southeast of the town in November 2006 by Citigold Corporation Limited. It's estimated that there are still 10 million ounces of gold underground in accordance with the JORC code of reporting mineral resources. Citigold plans to open three mines directly under the city to extract gold at a rate of 250,000 ounces per year.

Goldfield Ashes

The Goldfield Ashes is an annual cricket carnival held in the town and surrounding area for players ranging from regional A-Grade players to social players. A cricketing frenzy descends on Charters Towers for largest amateur cricket carnival in the southern hemisphere staged on pitches throughout the city every Australia Day weekend. Numbers in recent years have reached just shy of 200 teams. The event is of massive benefit for the town bringing in business for all the region, especially the town's pubs and clubs. While the higher grades take it very seriously with awards and prizes given, the lower grades take to a more social view. Games involving drinking penalties and costume wearing are all part of the antics. This year more teams were involved than ever and the magic two hundred team mark was not beaten only due to a lack of fields in the region as a lot of the fields are concrete pitches on the properties of families in the region.

Views of some Charters Towers Architecture

Australian Bank of Commerce Building. In the City Centre Former Municipal Library.

References

External links

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