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Townsville's Heritage

A Chronological History of Townsville

Moving to the Future

1970: James Cook University (formerly known as the University College of Townsville) was proclaimed as an Act of Parliament on 20 April 1970. The University was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.



Cyclone Althea struck Townsville on Christmas Eve. An estimated $50 million worth of damage was caused with hundreds of homes on the mainland and over 90 per cent of those on Magnetic Island damaged or destroyed. A three metre storm surge was recorded north of the area. There were three deaths.



A nickel refinery at Yabula was opened for operation.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) opened at Pallarenda.

The Ross River was dammed to mitigate against flooding and improve water availability.



The Townsville Civic Theatre opened with a variety concert of local performers. A number of professional and community-based theatre companies have been established including Tropic Line, and the North Queensland Opera and Music Company.


Opening of Flinders St Mall by Mayor Perc Tucker & Alderman Mike Reynolds
Townsville Mayor Perc Tucker and Alderman Mike Reynolds unveiling the plaque at the Flinders Mall Opening, 1979 >>
The Flinders Street Mall was opened on 1 November.








The Perc Tucker Regional Art Gallery opened in Flinders Mall. The building was originally erected in 1885 for the Union Bank of Australia.

Edward Koiki Mabo, a Townsville resident, and a number of other local Aboriginal leaders held a conference at James Cook University and decided to pursue a native land title claim for the people of the Murray Islands in the High Court of Australia.



On 1 January Thuringowa was proclaimed a City. The City continues to be among the fastest growing areas in Queensland.

The Sheraton Breakwater Hotel and Casino (now known as Jupiters Casino) was opened to the public.



Reef HQReef Wonderland (now known as Reef HQ) opened on 24 June.


The 'Mabo' land rights campaign successfully overcame the law of 'terra nullius' when the High Court of Australia gave recognition of indigenous land ownership.



The Townsville Suns played their first National Basketball League match on 23 April at the Townsville Entertainment Centre. Forced to change their name in 1997 due to copyright regulations, the team became the Crocodiles. The Entertainment Centre has become affectionately nicknamed 'The Swamp'.



Laurie Spina led the North Queensland Cowboys onto Stockland Stadium (now known as Dairy Famers Stadium) for their first ever clash on 11 March.



Two Black Hawk helicopters collided in a training accident on 12 June, killing 18 soldiers. A memorial was erected in the Palmetum in 1997 .

The Mango Rico company was established with the famous liquor launched in 1997 .



Damage to The Strand, 1998
Damage to The Strand, 1998 >>

On 10 January, torrential rain fell in Townsville causing wide-spread flooding throughout the city. The Strand was extensively damaged.



The StrandTownsville's re-developed Strand opened on
23 October.


A ceremony to mark the unveiling and proclamation of the first Australian flag was held in Townsville. This event took place at the opening of Federation North, a national event commemorating the anniversary of the Federation of Australia.

The new Townsville Hospital opened at Douglas.



Construction commenced on the Douglas Arterial Road. The project included the construction of a new bridge across the Ross River.

The new Townsville Railway Station opened to accommodate the new Tilt Train service.

Premier Peter Beattie, Mayor Tony Mooney and Mike Reynolds MLA opened the Nelly Bay Harbour ferry terminal on Magnetic Island.

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