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Proserpine
Queensland
Proserpine Collage.jpg
Top: Proserpine Museum, Upper left: Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Upper right: Main St, Lower left: Whitsunday Regional Council Offices, Lower right: Proserpine Library, Bottom left: Ken MacPherson Memorial Gardens, Bottom right: Pioneer Park
Population 3,390 (2011 census)
Established 1890s
Postcode(s) 4800
Elevation 20 m (66 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
Location
LGA(s) Whitsunday Regional Council
State electorate(s) Whitsunday
Federal Division(s) Dawson
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
28.7 °C
84 °F
17.6 °C
64 °F
1,336.3 mm
52.6 in

Proserpine ( locally) is a town in Whitsunday Region in the state of Queensland, Australia. It is situated on the Bruce Highway. It was founded in the 1890s. In the 2011 census, Proserpine had a population of 3,390. Proserpine is an anchor for the Whitsundays region, providing some key infrastructure, including the rail station, the mainland airport for scheduled jet services, two high schools, the hospital and other vital services. It is a future base for workers involved in nearby mines including the $22 billion Adani Carmichael coal project.

The town is located along the banks of the Proserpine River and is surrounded by vast flat areas of land primarily used for cane farming. It prides itself on its friendly atmosphere and in 2007 it won the Tourism Queensland Friendliest town award. Proserpine is experiencing a resurgence in economic growth fueled by its Airport gaining International services in 2017, its affordability and its short commute distance to the mines.

Name

The town name Proserpine derives from the Proserpine River, whose name was derived from the legend of the Greek goddess Persephone (whose Latin name is Proserpine).

History

StateLibQld 1 158746 Businesses in Main Street, Proserpine in the 1930s
Main Street, Proserpine in the 1930s
StateLibQld 1 16318 Steamer Brinawarr at Proserpine Landing, Queensland, ca. 1906
Steamer Brinawarr at The Proserpine Landing, Circa 1906

The town was founded around 1890 just after the sugar mill was constructed. The Postal Office opened in 1886. The town experienced high growth in the 1900s as the local sugar industry grew and exported raw sugar via the Proserpine Landing from here it was sent to refineries. At this time it was the fastest growing regional town in Queensland.

In the 1950s the Proserpine Airport was opened which increased the towns accessibility by air. In 1986 construction commenced on the Peter Faust Dam 25 kilometres (16 mi) NW of the town to be used for flood mitigation during the wet season and irrigation during the dry, the dam was completed in 1990 and was expected to take decades to fill but a passing cyclone helped boost levels close to maximum capacity. The 1990s saw the Proserpine Sugar Mill crush a record amount of cane in 1996.

Heritage listings

Proserpine has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Demographics

ProserpineAerial
Proserpine viewed from Tawvale Heights.

In the 2011 census, Proserpine recorded a population of 3,390 people; 49.5% male and 50.5% female. The median age of the Proserpine population was 39 years, 2 years above the national median of 37. The country of birth of people living in Proserpine was 2.4% England, 0.6% Philippines, 0.5% South Africa, 0.4% Italy, 2.1% New Zealand. 92.5% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were 0.4% Tagalog, 0.2% German, 0.2% French, 0.6% Italian, 0.1% Spanish. The religious make up of Proserpine was 22.9% Anglican, 3.7% Presbyterian and Reformed, 12.6% Uniting Church, 17.1% No Religion, 25.5% Catholic. 46.6% of people were married, 31.2% never married and 9.7% were separated or divorced. There were 227 widowed people living in Proserpine. The median individual income was $520.00 per week and the median household income was $929 per week, compared to the national median of $1,234. 29.6% of residences were fully owned, and 28.1% were in the process of being purchased by home loan mortgage. 38.4% of homes were rented. The median rent in Proserpine was $230 per week and the median mortgage repayment was $1517 per month.

The historical population of Proserpine is as follows: 1901: 136, 1911: 1102, 1933: 2177, 1961: 2753, 1981: 3058, 2001: 3250, 2006: 3316, 2011: 3390, 2016: 4000

Geography

Kelsey Creek-Dittmer Mountains
The mountains west of Proserpine.

The land around Proserpine is relatively flat. Some of the land is flood prone during the wet season but most of the land is less flood-prone then it used to be prior to the construction of the Peter Faust Dam. Clarke Range is located to the west, northwards is Dryander National Park and to the east is Conway National Park.

The Clarke Range to the west of the town contains the small, former gold mining town of Dittmer and provide a dramatic backdrop to the area.

Landmarks and attractions

Peter Faust Dam
Peter Faust Dam

Landmarks

• Proserpine Mill chimneys. Twin chimneys that are 62m tall (equivalent to 18 stories) and dominate the skyline.

• Proserpine water tower and associated mural.

Attractions

Art Deco façades in Main St. A lot of the shops in Main St have art deco façades. Most are in disrepair and require restoration.

• Proserpine Historical Museum – A museum run by local volunteers located on the Bruce Highway.

• Proserpine Entertainment Centre – A relatively young building used for various events/functions including movies, funerals, matinées, and concert dances.

• Peter Faust Dam located 22 kilometres (14 mi) west of Proserpine is a dam popular with fisherman and watersports enthusiasts.

Events

ProserpineShowJune2014
Sideshow Alley at the Proserpine Show June 2014

The Proserpine Show is held at the Proserpine Showground around 24–25 June. It is a typical show with carnival rides, sideshow alley and fireworks. The Harvest Festival is generally held in October, around the 20th of the month, as a celebration of the end of sugar crushing at the mill. It includes carnival rides at Les Stagg Oval and a parade with floats through the Main Street. The Proserpine Rotary Christmas Fair is an annual event held on 16 December. Main Street is closed off and stall holders take the place of cars. Most shops open or stay open until late and take advantage of the increased business by offering discounts, special deals.

Telecommunications

Internet services are of excellent standard in the town with access to the National Broadband Network and 4G LTE mobile services available from all major carriers.

Transport

Bus

There are Whitsunday Transit bus services to and from Airlie Beach and a connection service to Proserpine / Whitsunday Coast Airport. The main bus stations are located in Mill Street (in front of Mill Street Park) and Blair Street (outside of the BP Service station).

Taxi

Taxi services operate 24/7 in the town and a taxi rank is located outside the courthouse.

Air

Proserpine Airport Terminal, January 2012
Whitsunday Coast Airport

Proserpine Airport has flights to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne as of December 2015. The airport opened in 1951 and the first flight landed at it on 3 November the same year. It was a flight from Brisbane in a Douglas DC-3.

The terminal recently underwent an upgrade in 2010/11 and the newly upgraded terminal was officially opened on 20 December 2011. This upgrade provided an expanded parking area with the introduction of paid parking, new luggage carousel, more check-in counters and an overall new look. The local council announced in early 2013 that it was considering entering a partnership with a private company to further expand the terminal to triple its present size. Access to the airport is via the Bruce Highway and Sir Reginald Ansett Drive by either private vehicle, or by bus.

In 2017 the Airport will gain International status, with the first flights expected to be to Auckland, the largest city of New Zealand followed by flights to Mainland China.

Rail

Proserpine Railway Station, Queensland, Jan 2013
Proserpine station in January 2013

Proserpine is located on the North Coast line and has services between Brisbane and Cairns provided by the Spirit of Queensland which depart from Proserpine Station located in Hinschen Street almost at the geographical centre of the town. It was opened on 2 July 1910 and Governor William MacGregor was in attendance having arrived on a special train, the opening was timed to coincide with the Proserpine Show. Regular services to Bowen commenced on 18 July 1910 (was later connected to Mackay and subsequently Brisbane). The station is fairly long and is also used for freight. It has restroom facilities, covered waiting areas, arrival and departure announcements and coaches that provide connections to surrounding areas meet every arriving train.

Climate

Mammatus Cloud
A Mammatus cloud formation in Proserpine. July 2014

Proserpine's climate consists of two main seasons. The "Wet Season" (November to April) and The "dry season" (May to November). The wet season is usually relatively humid with high rainfall in most years and the dry season is cool and pleasant with scarce rainfall and low humidity. The peak season for tourism is during the winter months owing to the reliable extended runs of clear weather which are ideal for outdoor activities.

The town has a humid subtropical climate (CWa) under the Köppen climate classification. During winter temperatures in outlying areas sometimes dip below zero but rarely in Proserpine itself due to the Urban heat island effect. The same occurs with Fog as it is usually denser in locations out of town.

The area has been affected by tropical cyclones most significantly Cyclone Ada in January 1970 and Cyclone Ului in March 2010. It was also affected (but to a lesser extent than southern and western areas) by the 2009 Australian dust storm.

A cyclone shelter was completed in February 2013 at Proserpine State Primary School and was a joint project between the Queensland Government and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi the latter committing $30million AUD towards the cyclone shelter program for which the community is very thankful. At more than 1,500 square metres, they can provide shelter for up to 800 people and are equipped with features to ensure people’s comfort and safety, such as a backup generator, a kitchen, 10 toilets and five showers. Mr Faisal Saif Almazrouei, Third Secretary at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attended the official opening of the Proserpine Shelter on March 26, 2013.

Climate data for Proserpine Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.2
(106.2)
40.4
(104.7)
37.9
(100.2)
34.0
(93.2)
32.0
(89.6)
32.0
(89.6)
32.7
(90.9)
34.1
(93.4)
36.3
(97.3)
39.0
(102.2)
41.2
(106.2)
42.9
(109.2)
42.9
(109.2)
Average high °C (°F) 31.4
(88.5)
31.1
(88)
30.2
(86.4)
28.7
(83.7)
26.5
(79.7)
24.5
(76.1)
24.3
(75.7)
25.6
(78.1)
28.4
(83.1)
30.2
(86.4)
31.4
(88.5)
32.0
(89.6)
28.7
(83.7)
Average low °C (°F) 22.6
(72.7)
22.9
(73.2)
21.5
(70.7)
19.1
(66.4)
15.8
(60.4)
12.7
(54.9)
11.0
(51.8)
11.7
(53.1)
14.4
(57.9)
17.5
(63.5)
19.9
(67.8)
21.8
(71.2)
17.6
(63.7)
Record low °C (°F) 15.9
(60.6)
15.0
(59)
14.2
(57.6)
7.6
(45.7)
5.0
(41)
0.5
(32.9)
-0.9
(30.4)
0.0
(32)
3.8
(38.8)
7.4
(45.3)
13.0
(55.4)
14.3
(57.7)
-0.9
(30.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 290.1
(11.421)
381.9
(15.035)
209.0
(8.228)
118.3
(4.657)
70.4
(2.772)
38.1
(1.5)
23.7
(0.933)
25.9
(1.02)
18.9
(0.744)
36.2
(1.425)
88.7
(3.492)
165.8
(6.528)
1,473.5
(58.012)

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