What You Need To Know

Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. It is in the dry tropics region of Queensland, adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. Considered the unofficial capital of North Queensland by locals, Townsville hosts a significant number of governmental, community and major business administrative offices for the northern half of the state. 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 fitness destination; The Townsville Sports Reserve; and Magnetic Island, a large neighbouring island, the vast majority of which is national park.


Population: Estimate 185,000
Area: 696.2 km²



Economic growth in the region was “not restricted to heavy industry growth attributed to the resources boom under the Howard Government, [as] the region’s tourism growth also outstripped neighbouring regions. Residents in Townsville have average household incomes about 10% above the state average: in 2003/04 it was closer to the New South Wales average than the Queensland average. The city remains popular with tourists, and backpackers are particularly drawn to Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef. The city has excellent diving and snorkelling facilities, with a variety of vessels using the port as a home base for their reef tourism activities.



Townsville Hospital from the Douglas Arterial Road. The Townsville Hospital is a 580-bed university teaching hospital in the suburb of Douglas. The Townsville Hospital was formally located in North Ward whose main building serves an example of the Streamline Moderne style of architecture. It is co-located with the James Cook University School of Medicine. The hospital caters for the city of Townsville, as well as people in the north as far as Thursday Island and Papua New Guinea, west to Mount Isa and south to Sarina. During the year 2010, the hospital admitted 54,941 patients, and had 60,676 presentations to the emergency department. The hospital is also the major tertiary maternity centre, with 2,308 babies delivered in 2010. The Townsville Hospital is undergoing a $437 million redevelopment as of 2011, delivering an additional 100 beds, a four-storey expanded Emergency Department, expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and expansion of oncology services. The Emergency Department will be the largest in Queensland. There are four other public health campuses in Townsville: the Kirwan Health Campus, the Magnetic Island Health Service Centre, the North Ward Health Campus and the Townsville Hospital Dentist, located in North Ward. In addition there are two private hospitals in Townsville, the Mater Hospital and the Mater Women’s and Children’s Hospital.



English is the official language



Townsville is governed by a City Council, comprising an independently elected Mayor and 10 Councillors who each represent a separate division within the local government area. Following local government reform undertaken by the Government of Queensland prior to the March 2008 elections, the previous entities of NQ Water, The City of Townsville and the City of Thuringowa were amalgamated. The Mayor of Townsville is Jenny Hill, a member of the Labor Party. Hill was elected in April 2012, replacing the retiring Les Tyrell and defeating main opposing candidate Dale Last. Tyrell was the immediate past Mayor for 17 years of the former local government authority, the City of Thuringowa. The previous Mayor of Townsville for 19 years was Tony Mooney (Australian Labor Party). Hill faced a largely hostile chamber in her first term, with ‘Townsville First’ candidates winning the majority of divisions. When local government elections were held in March 2016, Jenny Hill was re-elected as Mayor of Townsville while all ten of her Team Jenny Hill candidates (which included two sitting councillors) won in their respective divisions.



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 Sunbus Townsville, 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. 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, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Mackay. Airlines currently servicing the airport include Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tigerair Australia, Regional Express, Qantaslink, Airnorth and Skytrans. In 2015, Jetstar began regular international flights from Townsville to Denpasar, Bali.


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. Elliot Springs, a satellite city to the south of Townsville, is expected to be home to 26,000 people by 2057. Additionally, the Queensland Government announced it will be offering 270 hectares (670 acres) of State-owned land (the former abattoir reserve), just south of the Bohle River, for future urban expansion.



Townsville is characterised as a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). Owing to a quirk of geographical location, Townsville’s winter rainfall in particular is not as high as elsewhere in the eastern 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.