Built on Gold

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.

Like Croydon and many other Queensland towns, Charters Towers was founded after the discovery of gold in 1872. And just like Croydon, many of the buildings were constructed to service the booming young town still exist. But these are different. Most of them are grand, colonial style buildings still in use today.

Almost every building in the centre of town is heritage listed and at night they’re beautifully lit.

Old signs retained on the buildings tell the story of their original purpose, some not that different from today.

The tiny town of Ravenswood, an hour east of Charters Towers, also flourished when gold was discovered. Even though the population dwindled from a peak of 5,000 in 1912 to fewer than 130, many of the gold rush era buildings still stand and the whole town is now heritage listed.

In Ravenswood though, most structures were utilitarian: family dwellings, government offices and community buildings.

Only two of the 50 pubs which once quenched the thirst of the people of Ravenswood remain. And while most of the town’s buildings are quite plain, the elaborate façades of these hotels are an indication of the prosperity brought by gold.

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32 thoughts on “Built on Gold

  1. I wonder if there is any connection between Ravenswood and Ravenshoe (in the Atherton Tablelands)?

    Aren’y those buildings, in both places, wonderful. I especially liked your night time shots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to my research, Ravenswood is named after a character in a novel by Sir Walter Scott and Ravenshoe after the title of a novel by Henry Kingsley. So, no connection really except for the literary link. We really enjoyed our walk through both Charters Towers and Ravenswood. It was great to go back down town at night to see the buildings with no traffic around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats to those with foresight to preserve all this history. We have a ‘small’ village in our neighboring town of Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke, but nothing of this size. With the climate change and water rising, they are quite concerned about the future for their historic buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope they are able to figure out a way to protect their old buildings. I always appreciate it when we go to a place where the beautiful buildings have been kept because sadly a lot of old ones in my city were removed and replaced with ugly 1960s and 70s structures.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. They don’t build buildings with their gold now, they buy social media or sports teams. LOL You are right about the cities that tore down buildings and rebuilt the town with ugly buildings in the 1960s and 1970s. You got some fabulous pictures. The night ones are especially nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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