Municipality of Townsville – 150th anniversary

On February 15, 1866, Townsville was declared a municipality by Queensland Governor Sir George Ferguson Bowen, with a proclamation published in the Queensland Government Gazette on March 10, 1866.

Hand coloured woodcut of Townsville, North Queensland. ca. 1870. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 7807-0001-0003

Hand coloured woodcut of Townsville, North Queensland. ca. 1870. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 7807-0001-0003

In November the previous year, 195 householders and landholders of Townsville petitioned the Queensland Government, requesting Townsville to be made a municipality – “The Petitioners state that the increasing importance of this town, in point of commerce and trade, renders them anxious to secure the benefits of Municipal Government, and they therefore pray that Townsville may be declared a Municipality”. Several prominent Townsville residents signed the petition including Spencer Frederick Walker, businessman and later mayor of Townsville and Mark Watt Reid, local station manager.

Petition from Townsville resident requesting Townsville be made a municipality. Published in the Queensland Government Gazette, November 11, 1865

Petition from Townsville resident requesting Townsville be made a municipality. Published in the Queensland Government Gazette, November 11, 1865

State Library of Queensland holds a myriad of materials (photographs, books, diaries, personal papers and more) related to the history and development of Townsville.  Some of these collections have been digitised and can be viewed online through our One Search catalogue.

Below is a sample of digitised photographs from our collection related to Townsville –

View of three hotels along the Strand taken from the mouth of Ross Creek, Townsville ca. 1873. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 24407

View of three hotels along the Strand taken from the mouth of Ross Creek, Townsville ca. 1873. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 24407

Beach and hinterland at Townsville, ca.1878. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-008-01-0027

Beach and hinterland at Townsville, ca.1878. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-008-01-0027

View from Queens Hotel looking up the hill Townsville ca. 1881. Bank of New South Wales building is in the centre foreground and two large buildings are pictured centre left. There are several homes scattered up the hill and an unsealed road forms the street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-022-0001-0045

View from Queens Hotel looking up the hill Townsville ca. 1881. Bank of New South Wales building is in the centre foreground and two large buildings are pictured centre left. There are several homes scattered up the hill and an unsealed road forms the street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-022-0001-0045

Early scene of Townsville suburb, The Breakwater ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-057-01-0008

Early scene of Townsville suburb, The Breakwater ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-057-01-0008

Panoramic view of Townsville's North Shore ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-057-01-0007

Panoramic view of Townsville’s North Shore ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-057-01-0007

Staff infront of Samuel Allen General Merchants store, Townsville ca. 1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203506

Staff infront of Samuel Allen General Merchants store, Townsville ca. 1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203506

Bush House at the Townsville Botanical Gardens ca.1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image  APE-082-0001-0004

Bush House at the Townsville Botanical Gardens ca.1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-082-0001-0004

Members of the Tunbridge family on the back verandah of Wolverton, Townsville ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image  APE-082-0001-0011

Members of the Tunbridge family on the back verandah of Wolverton, Townsville ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-082-0001-0011

Fishing in the river near Townsville ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. APA-019-01-0016

Fishing in the river near Townsville ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. APA-019-01-0016

Customs House, Townsville. Undated.  Situated on the Corner of Wickham St and the Strand, it was built in 1902. John Oxley, State Library of Queensland. Neg 7668

Customs House, Townsville. Undated. Situated on the Corner of Wickham St and the Strand, it was built in 1902. John Oxley, State Library of Queensland. Neg 7668

Hoisting the flag on Federation Day, January 1901 in Townsville, Queensland. This ceremony was taking place on Federation Day on the corner of Denham and Flinders Streets, Townsville. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 24459

Hoisting the flag on Federation Day, January 1901 in Townsville, Queensland. This ceremony was taking place on Federation Day on the corner of Denham and Flinders Streets, Townsville. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 24459

Road from town to the Townsville jetty, 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-015-0001-0008

Road from town to the Townsville jetty, 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-015-0001-0008

Partially destroyed Townsville Grammar School after Cyclone Leonta 1903. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 166424

Partially destroyed Townsville Grammar School after Cyclone Leonta 1903. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 166424

Lowth Hotel in Townsville 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204722

Lowth Hotel in Townsville 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204722

Panoramic view of Townsville showing Castle Hill ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194762

Panoramic view of Townsville showing Castle Hill ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 194762

Federation parade in Flinders Street Townsville, Queensland 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 120568

Federation parade in Flinders Street, Townsville, Queensland 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 120568

Costume display inside Lennon's Drapers & Footwear Importer in Townsville, 1913. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 10152-0001-0005

Costume display inside Lennon’s Drapers & Footwear Importer in Townsville, 1913. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 10152-0001-0005

First troops leaving Townsville Queensland bound for Thursday Island 1914. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 25535

First troops leaving Townsville Queensland bound for Thursday Island 1914. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 25535

Aerial view of Townsville featuring Ross Creek and Flinders Street, ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 65562

Aerial view of Townsville featuring Ross Creek and Flinders Street, ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 65562

Townsville Baptist Church 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 43655

Townsville Baptist Church 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 43655

Railway strike at the Waterside Workers Union headquarters, Townsville 1925. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APA-063-0001-0032

Railway strike at the Waterside Workers Union headquarters, Townsville 1925. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APA-063-0001-0032

Flinders Street in Townsville in 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg  62506

Flinders Street in Townsville in 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 62506

Queen's Hotel, Townsville ca. 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204621

Queen’s Hotel, Townsville ca. 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204621

Outlook over the carpark on top of Castle Hill, Townsville ca. 1936. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204556

Outlook over the carpark on top of Castle Hill, Townsville ca. 1936. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204556

Inner Harbor, Townsville 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203507

Inner Harbor, Townsville 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203507

War correspondent Earl Crotchett on crutches on the steps of the Queens Hotel in Townsville 1942. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 99779

War correspondent Earl Crotchett on crutches on the steps of the Queens Hotel in Townsville 1942. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 99779

Flooded business premises, South Townsville 1946. Neg 204608

Flooded business premises, South Townsville 1946. Neg 204608

Interior of Townsville library ca. 1948. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 184898

Interior of Townsville library ca. 1948. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 184898

Groper fish caught in the Haughton River Townsville District ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 41290

Groper fish caught in the Haughton River Townsville District ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 41290

Aerial view of Townsville, 1954. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 201952

Aerial view of Townsville, 1954. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 201952

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland