Charters Towers

Out west from Townsville is the historic gold mining town of Charters Towers.

Columbia Poppet Head near Charters Tower

We chose to stay at the free camp site nearby at Macrossan (Camps 6: 283) just 20km out of town. The camp site is just over a bridge adjacent to a sandy shallow river. It is a large area with quite basic facilities including a cold water showers inside the amenities block. The area is safe being far enough off the road to be out of sight of  any yahoos, people who may decide to come in a make a nuisance of themselves. It is also a quiet location with little road traffic noise though there is a train line running over nearby  bridge but it only runs about 4 times a day. The site also has limited mobile reception. There is a little bit of fishing that can be done there and we saw a fisherman with a catch, but it is not a big fishing river, more as something to do. We thought we would set up our virgin yabby pots and give them a go using dry food in perforated pill bottle and a quarter of an apple  each pot as had been recommended to us previously. Sadly, it was no go after many hours submersion. We’ll try again in another time & place.

The Robbiebago caravan (far right) at the Macrossan free camp

We wanted to just unwind a bit and quickly made friends with neighbouring campers. Happy hour came and we met some more neighbours. The second day saw me with a really bad case of fatigue. Bob fiddled around with fitting new strip LED lights to the back of the Land Cruiser.  I more or less didn’t get out of the caravan much until well into the afternoon.  One of the neighbours baked a chocolate cake and gave us about 1/3rd of it. That finally got me out to say thank you and to talk to them. Sometimes making the first step out of bed is the hardest! Though I tired easily after an hour, it was good to be up and about.  Bob cooked dinner and we took to playing cards to pass the evening.

Post showing flood levels in the area at Macrossan

Near the top of the same post. 2009 is 20.75m - 1946 was around 30cm higher again

The next day I was back to normal and we decided to venture into Charters Towers and see what the town has to offer. First off we went to the Visitor Information Centre to ensure we didn’t miss anything we might be interested in. We were advised that there was a couple of tours, one starting in just minutes covering a video presentation of the history and then an interactive presentation next door of the Gold Stock Exchange. We happened to be parked just outside one of the many painted murals that are scattered around the town. 

One of the painted murals at Charters Towers

From here we went to the Towers Hill lookout that also has quite a bit war history as well as the gold history tied into it especially the multiple sites of ammunition bunkers scattered around the hill. There is a nightly movie on the history in the amphitheatre there, but being profoundly deaf, there wasn’t much point in me attending.

The view over Charters Towers
One of the many World War 2 bunkers on Towers Hill

We went into town for lunch at the local bakery, Bob’s pie was OK but I chose a pepper pie and there was so much pepper that I couldn’t eat more than 3 mouthfuls. I think they must have tipped the whole pepper pot into the meat – and I thought I loved pepper!

We managed to capture on camera one of the ghosts at the Venus Gold Battery

After lunch we went to the Venus Gold Battery and took the 75 minute in depth guided tour. It was a very interesting along with the resident ghosts which was cleverly presented. The guide had a personal tie to the town being a 4th generation local and he was genuinely passionate about the Gold Battery and its history and it came out in his presentations. Even though we have visited many gold places such as Lucknow, Kalgoorlie and Ballarat, we learnt a lot here.

Assay room at Venus Gold Battery

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