The thoroughfare now known as Townsville’s Strand developed from as early as the mid 1860s. From this time, Townsville’s more wealthy residents, taking advantage of the cooling sea breezes, were building residences along the beachfront. By the early 1870s, reflecting this development and growth, at least three hotels had been built in the vicinity. At this early stage of development The Strand remained unformed and unsealed and there had been no formal planting of shade trees.
In 1881, the Townsville Council planted a series of cedar trees, following up with cocoa and betel nut trees, as a way of beautifying the beachfront area and to provide shade for those using the area for recreation. In 1883, the Council developed a roadway along the beachfront leading to Kissing Point. There are a range of impressive and important sites and buildings along The Strand that remind us of the area’s history and development.
Anzac Memorial Park began as The Strand Park in the 1910s as an place for the residents of Townsville to visit and enjoy. The park was progressively expanded and developed and from the 1920s became a focus for the city’s ANZAC Day activities. Reflective of this important use, the park was formally renamed the ANZAC Memorial Park in 1934.
The Telecasters North Queensland Building was previously the Queens Hotel. This building was built in stages between 1902 and the 1920s by publican John Tyack, to the design of prominent architectural firm Eaton, Bates and Polin. the hotel soon acquired a reputation as being one of the finest hotels in North Queensland.
The Tobruk Memorial Baths were built between 1941 and 1950, with early construction slowed as a result of the Second World War. The Baths were designed and built by the Townsville City Council’s engineering and works department and named the Tobruk Memorial Baths in honour of the Australian servicemen who had taken part in the Siege of Tobruk.
Townsville’s Strand today still lives out the theme of its early development, being a place for rest and recreation for the residents of Townsville as well as visitors to the area.
Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland