Tuesday, 15 November 2016

T150 – Townsville Past & Present: Townsville On The Move

Don't miss the last round of T150 displays at James Cook University Library which focus on the theme “Townsville on the move”. Townsville was founded in 1864 as a port for the region’s emerging pastoral industry. The discovery of gold in the hinterland provided a catalyst for economic development and the settlement of Townsville as permanent town. The city soon became a transport hub for the products of the mining, sugar and cattle industries and the various displays in the cabinets reflect the development of roads, railways, airfields, shipping and port facilities in the region.

Carrier's camp at the top of Hervey Range.  Willmett & Wyeth Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 423
In the 1860s the only road to the hinterland was via a track over the top of Hervey’s Range. The track over the range was steep and hazardous and took a full day for bullock drays to negotiate. The teams would spend one night at the Range Hotel at the base of Hervey’s Range before negotiating the range the following day and reaching the Eureka Hotel at the top by nightfall. The opening of a more serviceable road - Hervey’s Range Road - in April 1933 was described as a “red-letter day” for Townsville and district, and particularly for the tobacco growers who lived on the Range. The long-awaited road was expected to relieve much of the difficulty and expense involved in getting their produce to market.
Hauling timber logs, Mt Spec area. Townsville Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 4561
In the 1930s the city council wanted to capitalise on the potential of the Mt Spec area by constructing a road up the Paluma Range. The scenic qualities of the rainforest and the difficulties of transporting timber and tin down the range were motivations for the construction of the road as an unemployment relief project in the Great Depression. During the Second World War, Paluma’s location high above Halifax Bay saw the establishment of radar stations, first by the American Army, then the Royal Australian Air Force. The area has a unique history intimately linked to Townsville. Displays feature items from the North Queensland Collection that document the development of the Mt Spec road, north of Townsville leading to the Paluma Range.

Pope Brothers Archive
Brothers, George Edward, Henry (Harry) James and Walter (Wally) John Pope, were all experienced coach and motor body builders and general wheelwrights. Using the slogan “We worked for others for you now let us work for you without the others,” they began their own operation as Pope Brothers in Townsville in June 1923. At that time, transport was making the transition from horses to motorised transport and the brothers believed Townsville offered a good business opportunity to which they could put their combined skills. The Pope Brothers Archive, which is part of the Library Archives Collection consists of workbooks, ledgers and journals. These valuable and fragile records span the period 1925 to 1938 and document the activities and financial takings of the business.
Walter John Pope & Henry James Pope, Pope Brothers Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 21161.
Gazetted a Port of Entry in 1865, the Port of Townsville has a rich history of supporting various industries and the local community with continuous employment. The Townsville Harbour Board was formed in 1896 and one of the first projects undertaken was the restoration of the eastern and western breakwaters, which had been extensively damaged in Cyclone Sigma. After providing facilities for coastal and overseas shipping at the outer harbour, the Harbour Board began developing the inner harbour, which included widening the entrance to Ross Creek. By 1900 the Port had developed a substantial meat export trade, wool was regularly shipped through Townsville, and the sugar trade was expanding. JCU Library holds the Townsville Harbour Board Archive - featuring reports of its activities from 1915 to the 1970s.
Townsville Harbour, E.R.Hayles Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 3862
In 1898 Robert Hayles visited Magnetic Island and was so impressed by its possibilities that he sold his other interests and built a hotel on the island the following year. Hayles built a jetty at Picnic Bay, and began operating a transport service from Townsville, with the small steam ferry Bee. Later, jetties were also built at Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay and the Hayles fleet continued to expand over many decades. Most of the Hayles vessels carried a name beginning with the letter ‘M’. The E.R. Hayles Archive was purchased from the estate of Eustace Robert (Bob) Hayles (son of Robert Hayles) and includes personal and business records.
Picnic Bay, Hayles Jetty, E.R.Hayles Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 3987.
Local Government
A significant step in Townsville’s progressive history occurred in 2008 when the Queensland State Government forced the merger of Townsville City Council and Thuringowa City Council in order to create the new Townsville City we know today. The City of Thuringowa had its genesis in the Thuringowa Division, created on 11 November 1879 as one of 74 divisions around Queensland under the Divisional Boards Act 1879 with a population of 638. Displays feature correspondence dated 1897 covering a number of interesting matters, including the traffic at the Causeway and the offer from a citizen to build a cedar boat for life saving purposes during floods. These primary source documents are evidence that many matters of concern in the community never change, for example, road development and maintenance, and public transport. Items from the Thuringowa Shire Archive are currently awaiting a detailed listing which contains correspondence from pre-1900.

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