Just another gold town?
Charters Towers is another gold town, but the difference is that they have preserved the best of the old, and are not afraid to show it off. We booked ourselves into a great site with excellent cabins, very clean and well appointed, unlike the last one we were on. Set among palm gardens, with plenty of room between cabins, we were overlooking the swimming pool and a liitle stream.
Betty has a slight problem, she is using a bit of oil, so we had to book her in for a service and a lookover, fortunately we were advised that there is nothing seriously wrong with her just that we will have to watch her oil levels as the oil light is not working.
Anyway, it gave us time to have a good walk round to see the historic heart of the town. Few towns can compare with the elegance and grandeur of the civic buildings, and the historic hotels and quaint cottages from the gold rush era are close enough to be easily explored on foot.
I always thought that Stock Exchanges were for big cities, but Charters Towers had one as early as 1890 to try to regularise the sale of shares in the various mines that were springing up all around. Many rogues were digging holes and salting them with gold, selling shares in worthless mines, and then skipping town with the money.(I think there are some like that still about!) Anyway, the stock exchange tried to sort that out, and I believe was mainly successful.
Also here a local mine manager, having had his salary cut from £8 to £6, shot the chairman at a board meeting, and was later hanged for his pains.
Dotted around the town are some great Sculptures, usually with descriptions, we saw one of a famous bag lady, who was reputed to have fallen in love above her station, and when she was rebuffed by his family took to the road. Another is of a swaggie, whose heritage is unknown, but represents the variety of people who have passed through the town.
Bring a country town, country music had to be represented, and a great sculpture at the town entrance shows three musicians.
There are so many superbly maintained old buildings here it is impossible to show them all, but one among them is the Telegraph and Post Office, built in 1892. The clock tower was added in 1898, and still chimes every half hour, the building replaced an earlier post office from 1878, just six years after gold was discovered here by an aboriginal horse boy who was chasing a pony spooked by a thunderstorm.
I have earlier mentioned Queenslanders, a style of house building common to this area, a tin roofed wooden building mostly surrounded by verandas, and often on stubs or stilts. There are many in this town, some better preserved than others, but all wonderful buildings which I would be proud to live in.
Many have ornate wrought iron as this one has, with split level roof. This is one of the nicer examples, still privately owned.
Charters Towers then is well worth a visit for a few days, apart from the weather, which was not good, there is much to see, good museums, plentiful history, just a great town. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures.