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Ross River flowing through Townsville CBD.jpg
Ross Creek flowing through Townsville CBD with Castle Hill in the background.
Townsville is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 180,820 (2018) (14th)
 • Density 260.811/km2 (675.50/sq mi)
Established 1865
Postcode(s) 4810
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Area 693.3 km2 (267.7 sq mi)(2016 urban)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
LGA(s) City of Townsville
County Elphinstone
State electorate(s)
  • Townsville
  • Thuringowa
  • Mundingburra
  • Burdekin
  • Hinchinbrook
Federal Division(s)
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
28.9 °C
84 °F
19.8 °C
68 °F
1,134.7 mm
44.7 in

Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. With a population of 180,820 as of June 2018, it is the largest settlement in North Queensland and is unofficially considered its capital. Townsville hosts a significant number of governmental, community and major business administrative offices for the northern half of the state.

Part of the larger local government area of the City of Townsville, it is in the dry tropics region of Queensland, adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. The city is also a major industrial centre, home to one of the world's largest zinc refineries, a nickel refinery and many other similar activities. As of December 2020, $30M operations to expand the Port of Townsville are underway, which involve channel widening and installation of a 70-tonne Liebherr Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore crane, to allow much larger cargo and passenger ships to utilise the port. It is an increasingly important port due to its proximity to Asia and major trading partners such as China.

Popular attractions include "The Strand", a long tropical beach and garden strip; Riverway, a riverfront parkland attraction located on the banks of Ross River; Reef HQ, a large tropical aquarium holding many of the Great Barrier Reef's native flora and fauna; the Museum of Tropical Queensland, built around a display of relics from the sunken British warship HMS Pandora; Castle Hill or as it was originally known Cootharinga, the most prominent landmark of the area and a popular place for exercise; The Townsville Sports Reserve; and Magnetic Island, a large neighbouring island, the vast majority of which is national park.


Early history

Such indigenous groups as the Wulgurukaba, Bindal, Girrugubba, Warakamai and Nawagi, among others, originally inhabited the Townsville area. The Wulgurukaba claim to be the traditional owner of the Townsville city area; the Bindal had a claim struck out by the Federal Court of Australia in 2005.

James Cook visited the Townsville region on his first voyage to Australia in 1770, but did not actually land there. Cook named nearby Cape Cleveland, Cleveland Bay and Magnetic(al) Island. In 1819, Captain Phillip Parker King and botanist Alan Cunningham were the first Europeans to record a local landing. In 1846, James Morrill was shipwrecked from the Peruvian, living in the Townsville area among the Bindal people for 17 years before being found by white men and returned to Brisbane.


StateLibQld 1 137127 Panoramic view of Townsville and surrounds, ca. 1870
Townsville ca. 1870
Queensland State Archives 1345 Anzac Memorial and Esplanade Townsville c 1935
Anzac Cenotaph and Esplanade, Townsville, circa 1935

The Burdekin River's seasonal flooding made the establishment of a seaport north of the river essential to the nascent inland cattle industry. John Melton Black of Woodstock Station, an employee of Sydney entrepreneur and businessman Robert Towns, dispatched Andrew Ball, Mark Watt Reid and a small party of aborigines to search for a suitable site. Ball's party reached the Ross Creek in April 1864 and established a camp below the rocky spur of Melton Hill, near the present Customs House on The Strand. The first party of settlers, led by W. A. Ross, arrived at Cleveland Bay from Woodstock Station on 5 November of that year. In 1866 Robert Towns visited for three days, his first and only visit. He agreed to provide ongoing financial assistance to the new settlement and Townsville was named in his honour.

Townsville was declared a municipality in February 1866, with John Melton Black elected as its first Mayor. Townsville developed rapidly as the major port and service centre for the Cape River, Gilbert, Ravenswood, Etheridge and Charters Towers goldfields. Regional pastoral and sugar industries also expanded and flourished. Townsville's population was 4,000 people in 1882 and grew to 13,000 by 1891.

In 1901 Lord Hopetoun made a goodwill tour of northern Australia and accepted an invitation to officially open Townsville's town hall, occasioning the first ever vice-regal ceremonial unfurling of the Australian national flag. With Brisbane, in 1902 Townsville was proclaimed a City under the Local Authorities Act.

Townsville 1937 parade of 31st battalion kennedy regiment
Parade of 31st Battalion, Kennedy Regiment, marching down Flinders Street, Townsville, Queensland, 1937

The foundation stone of the Townsville Cenotaph was laid in Strand Park on 19 July 1923. It was unveiled on 25 April 1924 (ANZAC Day) by the Queensland Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan.


The rural land surrounding the city was initially managed by the Thuringowa Road Board, which eventually became the Shire of Thuringowa. The shire ceded land several times to support Townsville's expansion. In 1986 the Shire became incorporated as a city, governed by the Thuringowa City Council. The cities of Townsville and Thuringowa were amalgamated into the "new" Townsville City Council in March 2008, as part of the Queensland state government's reform program.

Japanese influence

In 1896, Japan established its first Australian consulate in Townsville, primarily to serve some 4,000 Japanese workers who migrated to work in the sugar cane, turtle, trochus, beche de mer and pearling industries. With the introduction of the White Australia policy, the demand for Japanese workers decreased, causing the consulate to finally close in 1908.

World War II

Robert Towns Statue
A statue of Robert Towns was placed in Flinders Square in recognition of his contribution to the establishment of Townsville.

During World War II, the city was host to more than 50,000

Some of the units based in Townsville were:

  • No. 3 Fighter Sector RAAF, Wulguru & North Ward
  • 1 Wireless Unit, Pimlico & Stuart & Roseneath
  • North Eastern Area Command HQ, Townsville, Sturt Street (now the Federation building)
  • Castle Hill, Townsville underground tunnels & bunkers
  • Green St. Bunker, West End, Sidney Street West End, Project 81 (now the SES building)
  • 96th Engineer Battalion (which mutinied in April 1942.)

In July 1942, three small Japanese air raids were conducted against Townsville, which was by then the most important air base in Australia. Several 500-pound (230-kilogram) bombs were dropped in the harbour, near the Garbutt airfield and at Oonoonba, where bomb craters are still clearly visible. No lives were lost and structural damage was minimal, as the Japanese missed their intended target of the railway and destroyed a palm tree. Although the Japanese aircraft were intercepted on two of the three raids, no Japanese planes were shot down.

1970 onwards

On Christmas Eve 1971, Tropical Cyclone Althea, a category 4 cyclone, battered the city and Magnetic Island, causing considerable damage.

Two very significant hotels on Flinders Street were lost. Buchanan's Hotel was regarded by architectural historians as Australia's most significant building in the Filigree style was lost to fire in 1982 and the Alexandra Hotel to demolition in the 1970s.

Eddie Mabo, who later became famous for his involvement in overturning the legal fiction of terra nullius, worked as a gardener at James Cook University in the 1970s and 1980s. It was here he first learned of the implications of the terra nullius doctrine and decided to take on the Australian government. The James Cook University Douglas campus library is now named after him.

In October 2000, a Solomon Islands Peace Agreement was negotiated in Townsville.

Urban layout

Inner city high-density development has also created population growth and gentrification of the central business district (CBD). One significant contributor to CBD development was the construction of a new rail passenger terminal and moving the railway workshops, releasing prime real estate which formerly belonged to Queensland Rail for the development of residential units, retail projects and a new performing arts centre. The skyline of Townsville's central business district has undergone dramatic changes over the last few years, with a number of new highrise buildings, both commercial and residential, constructed.

In the short term, much of the urban expansion will continue to the west and the north, in the former City of Thuringowa. The most significant of these is North Shore Estate, a new A$1 billion 5,000-lot housing estate, located close to the Bruce Highway, just north of the Bohle River. Medium term expansion of Townsville will be focused on two major urban developments anticipated to start soon. Rocky Springs, a satellite city to the south of Townsville, is expected to eventually be home to 55,000 people. Additionally, the State Government announced it will be offering 270ha of State-owned land (the former abattoir reserve), just south of the Bohle River, for future urban expansion.

Townsville City viewed from Castle Hill at sunrise


Ross River from Riverway
The Ross River that runs through Townsville

Townsville lies approximately 1,350 kilometres (840 mi) north of Brisbane, and 350 kilometres (220 mi) south of Cairns. It lies on the shores of Cleveland Bay, protected to some degree from the predominantly south-east weather. Cleveland Bay is mostly shallow inshore, with several large beaches and continually shifting sand bars. Magnetic Island lies 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) offshore, to the north of the city centre.

The Ross River flows through the city. Three weirs, fish stocking and dredging of the river in these reaches has resulted in a deep, stable and clean waterway used for many recreational activities such as waterskiing, fishing and rowing. Thirty kilometres from the mouth (at the junction of Five Head Creek) is the Ross River Dam, the major water storage for the urban areas.

The historic waterfront on Ross Creek, site of the original wharves and port facilities, has some old buildings mixed with the later modern skyline. However, the central city is dominated by the mass of red granite called Castle Hill, 292 metres (958 ft) high and just 8 metres short of being a mountain. There is a lookout at the summit giving panoramic views of the city and its suburbs, including Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island. There are a number of parks scattered throughout the city, including three botanical gardens — Anderson Park, Queens Gardens and The Palmetum.


Townsville is characterised as a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). Owing to a quirk of its geographical location, Townsville's winter rainfall in particular is not as high as elsewhere in the coastal tropics of Queensland, such as Cairns. The winter months are dominated by southeast trade winds and mostly fine weather. Further north the coastline runs north/south and the trade winds are lifted to produce rainfall right through the year. Townsville, however, lies on a section of coastline that turns east/west, so the lifting effect is not present. As a result, winter months are dominated by blue skies, warm days and cool nights, although at times significant rainfall may occur.

Kenneth Wade Robinson summarised the climate as follows:

The sunshine attracts many tourists; but the high temperatures, bright sunshine, lack of moisture in the winter, and the prospect of flooding in the summer have a profound effect on all aspects of life and landscape. Special techniques are required for successful farming, sub-tropical crops are important items of production, pastures grow only in summer, and transport may be dislocated when it is needed most. Since the onset of white settlement, pastoralists and farmers of the North-East Coastlands Region have faced problems for which there are no answers in the agriculture practices of temperate lands.

The average annual rainfall is 1,143 millimetres (45.0 in) on an average 91 rain days, most of which falls during the six-month "wet season" from November to April. Because of the "hit or miss" nature of tropical lows and thunderstorms, there is considerable variation from year to year. Annual rainfall has ranged from 397.6 millimetres (15.65 in) in 2015 to 2,399.8 millimetres (94.48 in) in 2000. Rainfall also varies considerably within the metropolitan area; it typically ranges from 1,136 millimetres (44.7 in) at central Townsville City to 853 millimetres (33.6 in) at Woodstock, a southwestern suburb. The wettest 24 hours on record was 11 January 1998, with 548.8 millimetres (21.61 in) falling mostly in a 12-hour period after dark, which has since been dubbed the "Night of Noah" by Townsville residents.

Climate data for Townsville Airport, Australia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.3
Average high °C (°F) 31.4
Average low °C (°F) 24.3
Record low °C (°F) 18.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 270.1
Average precipitation days 14.5 15.5 12.6 7.7 5.8 4.2 3.0 2.6 2.4 4.7 7.3 9.8 90.1
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 65 67 63 60 56 52 51 52 53 55 58 60 58
Mean monthly sunshine hours 244.9 204.4 235.6 234.0 232.5 234.0 263.5 279.0 288.0 303.8 282.0 279.0 3,080.7
Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Townsville Rainfall Data mm (inches)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
Highest rainfall 1,141.7 (44.9) 960.8 (37.8) 696.2 (27.4) 546.2 (21.5) 180.8 (7.1) 111.4 (4.4) 173.7 (6.8) 258.2 (10.2) 84.4 (3.3) 252.8 (10.0) 345.2 (13.6) 458.0 (18.0) 2,399.8 (94.5)
Highest 24-hour rainfall 548.8 (21.6) 317.6 (12.5) 366.5 (14.4) 271.6 (10.7) 96.0 (3.8) 93.0 (3.7) 89.8 (3.5) 134.2 (5.3) 64.6 (2.5) 89.4 (3.5) 132.8 (5.2) 206.8 (8.1) 548.8 (21.6)
Average rainfall 270.1 (10.6) 298.7 (11.8) 192.4 (7.6) 66.4 (2.6) 31.7 (1.2) 21.2 (0.8) 14.9 (0.6) 16.1 (0.6) 10.4 (0.4) 23.4 (0.9) 58.4 (2.3) 127.7 (5.0) 1,134.7 (44.7)
Lowest rainfall 8.8 (0.3) 4.2 (0.2) 2.0 (0.1) 0.3 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 0.2 (0.0) 0.0 (0.0) 397.6 (15.7)
Bureau of Meteorology

December is the warmest month of the year with daily mean maximum and minimum temperatures being 31.5 °C (88.7 °F) and 24.1 °C (75.4 °F) respectively. July is the coolest month with daily mean maximum and minimum temperatures being 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) and 13.7 °C (56.7 °F). Townsville experiences an annual mean of 8.5 hours of sunshine per day, averaging 120.8 clear days per year.

Tropical cyclones

Like most of North Queensland, Townsville is susceptible to tropical cyclones. They usually occur between December and April, forming mainly out in the Coral Sea, and usually tracking west to the coast. Notable cyclones to affect the Townsville Region have been: Cyclone Yasi (2011), Cyclone Tessi (2000), Cyclone Sid (1998, in particular damaging The Strand), Cyclone Joy (1990), Cyclone Althea (1971), Cyclone Leonta (1903) and Cyclone Sigma (1896).

Townsville and Thuringowa experienced major flooding in January 1998 due to Cyclone Sid.


Townsville has a younger population than the Australian and Queensland averages. The city has traditionally experienced a high turnover of people, with the army base and government services bringing in many short to medium term workers. The region has also become popular with mine workers on fly in/fly out contracts. Townsville's urban population was 180,820 in June 2018, having grown at an average annual rate of 0.82% year-on-year over the preceding five years.

Panorama of Flinders Street at night
Flinders Street

Culture, events and festivals

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is an international chamber music festival held over ten days each July in Townsville, North Queensland. The festival has been running since 1991, and attracts many acclaimed international and Australian musicians. Townsville also has its own orchestra, the Barrier Reef Orchestra, which presents concerts throughout North Queensland. The Townsville Entertainment Centre, seating more than 5,000 people, is host to many national and international music shows, as well as sporting and trade shows.

The region has many renowned festivals, many which celebrate the international heritage of many that call North Queensland home. The Annual Greek and Italian Festivals are popular with the locals and tourists alike. The Townsville South hotel and restaurant strip hosts an annual Palmer Street Jazz Festival, as does nearby Magnetic Island (The Great Tropical Jazz Party). The Stable on the Strand is celebrated each Christmas.

Cultural Fest in The Strand 2009
Cultural Fest in the Strand

The Townsville Civic Theatre is North Queensland's premier cultural facility. Since its opening in 1978, the Theatre has been a centre of entertainment and performing arts, providing an environment to further develop the performing arts in Townsville and the North. The Full Throttle Theatre Company is a professional theatre company based in Townsville. Full Throttle showcases the talents of local actors, designers, directors and playwrights. It presents four major shows a year.

The Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is the public art gallery of Townsville. Located on the eastern end of Flinders Mall, the Gallery focuses on artwork relevant to North Queensland and the Tropics. Every second September the gallery presents sculpture artworks and art festival called Strand Ephemera, exhibited over the two kilometre beachfront strip.

The Townsville City Council and Townsville Intercultural Centre annually organises Cultural Fest in mid August in the Strand. The Cultural Fest showcases the cultural diversity of the city and dance, food, and music from different ethnic groups in the region.

The city has many restaurants, concentrated on Palmer Street in South Townsville, Flinders Street and to a lesser extent along the Strand. The city also has a vibrant pub and night-club scene, many of them located in Flinders Street East.

Townsville is the stunning setting for the state-of-the-art futuristic city in the 2015 novel, 'A Tango with the Dragon.'

Media and communications

Townsville is the media centre for North Queensland, with four commercial radio stations, North Queensland ABC radio station, three commercial television stations, one regional daily newspaper and one community weekly newspaper (both owned by News Ltd). There are no local Sunday papers although The Sunday Mail (Qld) — based in Brisbane — does have a North Queensland edition. Media distributed on the World Wide Web include the Townsville Bulletin.

Sport and recreation

Riverway (Townsville)
One of Riverway's swimming lagoons, a free swimming and recreation area.

Townsville hosts several sporting teams that participate in national competitions. These include the North Queensland Cowboys (National Rugby League), and the Townsville Fire (Women's National Basketball League) who play at the Townsville RSL Stadium. The city also formerly hosted the Townsville Crocodiles, (National Basketball League) who played out of the Townsville Entertainment Centre, known as The Swamp during Crocs home games.

Queensland Country Bank Stadium is the home ground for the Cowboys. It replaced the Willows Sports Complex. The Willows Sports Complex was an official venue for the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, with three matches played in Townsville. Townsville hosted the popular Japanese national rugby union team. Tony Ireland Stadium, in the suburb of Thuringowa, has an international standard cricket and AFL stadium. Townsville was a host city for the preliminary rounds of the men's (Pool B) and women's (pool A) Basketball competition for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Townsville also hosts two Touch Football associations. The Townsville/Castle Hill Touch Association (TCHTA) conducts competitions annually at its grounds at Queens Park, Townsville. Thuringowa Touch Association (TTA) also conducts competitions at Greenwood Park, Kirwan. Both competitions have produced a host of regional, state and national representative players and officials.

Townsville and its surrounding suburbs host a number of junior and senior rugby league sides in the successful Townsville & District Rugby League, including A-grade sides: Bindal Sharks, Brothers Townsville, University Saints and Centrals ASA Tigers. The junior league has produced a number of Australian internationals such as Gorden Tallis and Gene Miles.

Townsville is also home to Football Queensland North. Soccer is played by junior participants in the city. Major clubs include MA Olympic, Brothers Townsville, and Saints Eagles Souths FC. As of 2020, soccer had 3,614 participants in the region.

Townsville and Districts Rugby Union run a successful Winter Junior and Senior Rugby Union competition including teams from Ingham, Charters Towers and Ayr. Townsville has produced a number of Wallabies in past including Peter Grigg and Sam Scott-Young.

AFL Townsville operate a regional Australian rules football league in the region. Jake Spencer is the first local player to play in the AFL.

Several Australian Test and ODI cricketers have come out of Townsville including fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, Andrew Symonds and James Hopes. In 2012 Townsville hosted under 19 cricket World Cup preliminary matches, semi finals and the final featuring Australia and India.

The Townsville Running Festival is an annual event organised by the Townsville Road Runners that began with the first Townsville Marathon in 1972 and now also includes several shorter fun runs.

The Reid Park Street Circuit is located in Reid Park. Each July since 2009, it hosts the Townsville 400 for the Supercars Championship.

Townsville also has a go cart track and motocross track; Townsville had a 1/4-mile dragstrip, but it closed its gates on 25 August 2012 due to urban development.

Rowing occurs at Townsville & JCU Rowing Club and Riverway Rowing Club. Both clubs cater to competitive masters, social, learn to row and school-based rowing programs. In 2009 the Townsville & JCU club won its first Queensland Club Premiership and in 2010 Riverway club claimed theirs.

Townsville has 3 Tennis Clubs. The Western Suburbs Tennis Club Inc., Tennis Townsville Inc. and Kalynda Chase Tennis Centre. Each year Tennis Townsville host the NQ Open Championships and Western Suburbs Tennis Club host the Townsville Open. These tournaments see Australian and international players competing for up to $10,000 prize money and the opportunity to improve their Australian Tennis Ranking.

Defence facilities

The Australian Army maintains a very strong presence in the north of Australia and this is evident by the basing of the Army's 3rd Brigade at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. The 3rd Brigade is a light infantry brigade. The brigade consists of three light infantry battalions — the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (1, 2 and 3 RAR) — and a cavalry contingent from 'B' Squadron, 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment. It also has integral Artillery, Engineer, Aviation Reconnaissance and Combat Service Support units. It is a high-readiness brigade that has been deployed frequently at very short notice on combat operations outside mainland Australia. These include Somalia, Rwanda, Namibia, East Timor, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition to the 3rd Brigade, a number of other major units are based in Townsville. These include the 5th Aviation Regiment, equipped with Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters, co-located at the RAAF Base in Garbutt and the 10th Force Support Battalion based at Ross Island. 10 FSB is a force logistics unit that provides back up logistic support to deployed units. The battalion provides specialist transport (including amphibious) and supply support. Along with this there is also the 11th Combat Service Support Battalion and the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment.

The Army also maintains an Army Reserve brigade in Townsville designated the 11th Brigade. This formation is similar in structure to the 3rd Brigade but comprises reserve soldiers only. There is also two active cadet units, 130 ACU located within Heatley Secondary College and 15 ACU located on Lavarack Barracks as of 2010, previously located at Ignatius Park College.

As with the Army, the Royal Australian Air Force also maintains a presence in Townsville. RAAF Base Townsville, which is located in the suburb of Garbutt, houses the Beech KingAir 350 aircraft from No. 38 Squadron RAAF. This unit operated the venerable DHC-4 Caribou aircraft until late 2009; however, it has re-equipped in the short term while protracted analysis for a more appropriate Battlefield Transport and Utility aircraft continues. This detachment provides support to the Army units in Townsville. The base is also a high readiness Defence asset and is prepared to accept the full range of RAAF aircraft types as well as other international aircraft including the huge C-17 Globemaster III and the Russian Antonov transport aircraft.

Townsville is also the staging point for the movement of personnel and materials to the remote parts of Northern Australia and many overseas locations.


The city has a diverse economy with strengths in education, healthcare, retail, construction and manufacturing. It is a defence hub and is home to thousands of military personnel. It is also a major manufacturing and processing hub. Townsville is the only city globally to refine three different base metals — zinc, copper, and nickel — and it is planned in the near future to be home to a $2billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility developed by the Imperium3 consortium in partnership with Siemens. Nickel ore is imported from Indonesia, the Philippines and New Caledonia and processed at the Yabulu Nickel refinery, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of the port. Zinc ore is transported by rail from the Cannington Mine, south of Cloncurry, for smelting at the Sun Metals refinery south of Townsville. Copper concentrate from the smelter at Mount Isa is also railed to Townsville for further refining at the copper refinery at Stuart.. The zinc refinery is one of the world's largest with an expansion from 2019.

Townsville has several large public assets as a result of its relative position and population. These include the largest campus of the oldest university in northern Queensland, James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science headquarters, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the large Army base at Lavarack Barracks, and RAAF Base Townsville.


There are over 60 private and State schools of primary and secondary education within the Townsville area. Townsville Grammar School is the oldest co-educational school on the Australian mainland. The Townsville State High School opened on 7 June 1924.


James Cook University (JCU) is a public university based in Townsville. Established in 1970, the main campus is located in the suburb of Douglas. JCU was the second university in Queensland and the first in North Queensland. The University has a strong and internationally recognised expertise in marine & tropical biology. The JCU Medical School was established in 1999 and is linked with the adjacent tertiary-level Townsville Hospital. The Veterinary Sciences undergraduate facility is the newest in Australia.

CQUniversity first established a presence in Townsville in 2014 with the opening of a Distance Education Study Centre in the CBD. The University quickly felt the demand for a face-to-face teaching presence in Townsville and has since opened a purpose built campus in the city offering many on-campus courses including nursing, paramedic science, business and psychology as well as supporting growing numbers of online students.

Vocational education

The city is home to the Pimlico and Aitkenvale campuses of TAFE Queensland North — a Technical and Further Education College, a campus of Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges, and Tec-NQ.



Townsville is the intersection point of the A1 (Bruce Highway), and the A6 (Flinders Highway) National Highways. The Townsville Ring Road, planned to become part of the re-routed A1 route bypass, circumnavigates the city.

Townsville has a public transport system contracted to TransLink, which provides regular services between many parts of the city. Public transport is also available from the CBD to Bushland Beach. Regular ferry and vehicular barge services operate to Magnetic Island and Palm Island.

Construction of railways in the area of Townsville started as early as 1879, and the first railway line was inaugurated in 1880. The line to Mount Isa which is used by The Inlander today was inaugurated in 1929. The railway lines to Cairns and Brisbane which are used by the Spirit of Queensland were inaugurated in 1929 as well. The former train station, a very representative building at the end of Flinders Street, was completed in 1913. The present train station of Townsville was opened in 2003.

The Tilt Train service connects Townsville railway station to Brisbane in the south and Cairns in the north. Townsville is a major destination and generator of rail freight services. The North Coast railway line, operated by Queensland Rail, meets the Western line in the city's south. Container operations are also common and the products of the local nickel and copper refineries, as well as minerals from the western line (Mount Isa), are transported to the port via trains. The Port of Townsville has bulk handling facilities for importing cement, nickel ore and fuel, and for exporting sugar and products from North Queensland's mines. The port has three sugar-storage sheds, with the newest being the largest under-cover storage area in Australia.

The city is served by Townsville International Airport. The Airport handles direct domestic flights to Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, as well as direct regional flights to destinations such as Cairns, Mackay, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Toowoomba. Airlines currently servicing the airport include Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Regional Express, Qantaslink and Airnorth.

Notable people


  • Jarrod Bannister (1984–2018), Australian athlete and Olympian
  • Glenn Buchanan (born 1962), Australian Olympic butterfly swimmer
  • Brett Clarke (born 1972), Australian Olympic table tennis player
  • Natalie Cook (born 1975), Australian Olympic beach volleyball player
  • Mervyn Crossman (1935–2017), Australian Olympic field hockey player
  • Tony David (born 1967), professional darts champion
  • Renita Farrell-Garard (born 1972), Australian hockey player and dual Olympic gold medalist
  • Helen Gray (born 1956), Australian Olympic swimmer
  • Rob Hammond (born 1981), Australian field hockey player
  • Lesleigh Harvey (born 1960), Australian Olympic swimmer
  • Valentine Holmes (born 1995), Australian Rugby League player
  • James Hopes (born 1978), Australian cricketer
  • Corey Jensen (born 1994), Australian rugby league player
  • Mitchell Johnson (born 1981), Australian cricketer
  • Laurie Lawrence (born 1941), Australian Olympic swimming coach
  • Summer Lochowicz (born 1978), Australian Olympic beach volleyball player
  • James Mason (born 1947), Australian Olympic field hockey player
  • Luke McLean (born 1987), Italian Australian Rugby Union footballer
  • Gene Miles (born 1959), Australian rugby league footballer
  • Jack Miller (born 1995), Australian MotoGP rider
  • Greg Norman (born 1955), former golf number 1
  • Aaron Payne (born 1982), Australian Rugby League player
  • Russell Perry (born 1938), Australian Olympic weightlifter
  • John-Patrick Smith (born 1989), Australian Tennis Player
  • Jake Spencer (born 1989), Australian Football League player
  • Andrew Symonds (born 1975), former Australian cricketer played for the Wanderers club in Townsville
  • Gorden Tallis (born 1973), Australian rugby league footballer
  • Sam Thaiday (born 1985), State of Origin and Australian rugby league player
  • Pud Thurlow (1903–1975), Australian test cricketer in the 1930s
  • Johnathan Thurston (born 1983), first North Queensland Cowboys NRL Premiership winning co/Captain with Matthew Scott
  • Adrian Trevilyan (born 2001), Australian rugby league player
  • Libby Trickett (née Lenton; born 1985), Australian Olympic swimmer


  • Julian Assange (born 1971), editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks
  • Clem Christesen (1911–2003), journalist and editor of the Australian literary magazine, Meanjin
  • Yvonne Sampson (born 1980), Nine Network sports journalist
  • John Vause, CNN reporter and anchor


  • Ben Bennett, Australian singer
  • Billy Doolan (born 1952), Australian Indigenous artist

Military personnel

  • James Cannan (1882–1976), former Australian major general
  • Charles Raymond Gurney (1906–1942), Australian aviator
  • Air Vice Marshal Ellis Wackett (1901–1984), Australian military aviation pioneer
  • Sir Lawrence Wackett (1896–1982), Australian aircraft industry pioneer

Lawyers and politicians

  • Bill Heatley (1920–1971), former Liberal senator
  • Patricia Staunton (born 1946), Australian magistrate and former NSW politician
  • Russell Skerman (1903–1983), Supreme Court judge


  • Lyn Ashley (born 1940), Actress, daughter of Madge Ryan
  • Harriet Dyer (born c. 1988), Hollywood Film Actress
  • Rick Farley (1952–2006), Australian activist for Indigenous Australians rights and former CEO National Farmers Federation
  • Rachael Finch (born 1988), Miss Universe Australia 2009 and 3rd Runner-up at Miss Universe 2009
  • Ralph Douglas Kenneth Reye (1912–1977), Australian pathologist who first described Reye's syndrome.
  • Madge Ryan (1919–1994), Hollywood, Broadway, and British (Witness in the Dark) stage and film actress – (Vide supra, daughter, Lyn Ashley)
  • Francis Stuart (1902–2000), Irish writer
  • Edwin C. Webb (1921–2006), Biochemist, Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University
  • Natalie Weir (born 1967), Australian choreographer
  • William J. Youden (1900–1971), statistician

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Townsville para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Scientists:
Dorothy Vaughan
Charles Henry Turner
Hildrus Poindexter
Henry Cecil McBay
kids search engine
Townsville Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.