Queensland Road Trip, May 2022
Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland.
The Savannah Way passes right through the centre of Croydon and it would be easy to drive on without stopping. But this little town, isolated in the vastness of the Gulf Country, has a history worth learning about.
Today Croydon has a population of just 266, but in the late 1880s it was the third largest town in Queensland. The reason for this population boom was, of course, the discovery of gold. People flocked to the area after the first discovery was made in 1885 and, by 1887, the town had a police station, general store, hospital and 36 pubs!
The population may have dwindled over time but the buildings from the gold rush era remain in Croydon, preserved in a Heritage Precinct on Samwell Street. We enjoyed a gentle stroll from one building to the next, going inside each to read their stories and look at the photos of times past.
The Police Sergeant’s residence (1897)
The Police Station and Old Gaol (1896)
Croydon Court House (1887)
Croydon Town Hall (1892)
Club Hotel (1887)
Hospital Male Ward (1887)
In earlier times, kerosene lamps lit the streets of Croydon. Today four original lamps have been joined by several replicas along the length of Samwell Street, adding to its historic character.
After wandering through town on foot, we used our car for the next part of our exploration, to the site where Chinatown and the Chinese Temple once stood. The foundations of the temple are the only remnants left of this once bustling area of Croydon. More than 300 Chinese people lived in Croydon, mostly working in their market gardens growing fruit and vegetables to supply the settlement.
Plaques telling the stories of some of the Chinese families are set beside the walking track.
Another couple of kilometres along the road we came to Lake Belmore, an earth walled dam constructed in 1995. The lake may be far more modern than the historic structures in town but its legacy is just as important. It is the largest body of fresh water in the region and supplies the town and surrounding area. The lake is a popular venue for water sports and fishing.
On our way back into Croydon we stopped at Diehm’s Lookout. Its location in the hills behind Croydon gave us just enough elevation to look down on the historic town, isolated by the seemingly limitless expanse of woodlands and savannah of the Gulf Country.
Joining Jo for Monday Walks