As the cultural capital of regional Australia, Townsville's cultural and performing arts scene is part of the fabric of community life, with a variety of acts, live shows and exhibitions regularly presented through the city's creative spaces and galleries.
Townsville's inner city laneways, warehouses and buildings are a stage for a vibrant collection of urban street art. Grab your camera and take yourself on Townsville's street art photography trail.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is Australia’s tropical marine research agency. AIMS plays a pivotal role in providing large-scale, long-term and world-class research that helps governments, industry and the wider community to make informed decisions about the management of Australia’s marine estate. The Australian Institute of Marine Science's National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) is a world-class marine research aquarium facility for tropical marine organisms in which scientists can conduct cutting-edge research not previously possible in Australia. Members of the public are invited to join a free tour of their Cape Ferguson facility every Friday between March and November. Tours begin at 9.30am and end at approximately 11.45am. They include presentations on AIMS’ current research and a guided walk around the facilities, including a tour of the ‘world’s smartest aquarium’, the National Sea Simulator. Numbers are limited. Bookings are essential and close at 4pm on the Wednesday before the tour. Sturdy, closed footwear and a hat to protect against the sun are required. They also advise you to bring drinking water. A lunch is available for guests to purchase at the cafe after the tour. Please inform reception if you intend on staying for lunch when booking.
If your interests include machinery or history, make sure you visit the Brandon Heritage Precinct. With plenty on display, the complex is the base of the Burdekin Machine Preservationists. This group of machinery enthusiasts are happy to welcome visitors to view their collection of machinery, tractors and other relevant items of interest. The Brandon Heritage Precinct contains a Workshop area, Steam Shed and Blacksmith Shop and displays a collection of machinery that was used in the Burdekin District. The Burdekin Machine Preservationists have completed their restoration project of a 1910 Marshall C Class Tractor. This tractor, which is on display at the complex, is the only one of its class left in the world. Tours can be taken through the complex on Mondays between 9am and 4pm when the Burdekin Machine Preservationists are in attendance. Suggested entry is gold coin donation. They have a wealth of mechanical knowledge, so feel free to ask lots of questions.
Learn about the history of the Hinchinbrook region and discover a treasure chest of historical artefacts at the Herbert River Museum. Located on Macrossan Street in Halifax, the Museum offers an interesting step back in time and is co-located with the local gallery. For those wanting to view more of their Local History, the Herbert River Museum and Gallery can be found in the old Shaw's Building, Macrossan Street, Halifax.
The award-winning Museum of Tropical Queensland provides a snapshot of this diverse region of North Queensland, from World Heritage listed rainforest and reefs to the story of the shipwrecked HMS Pandora, the ship sent to capture the Bounty mutineers. The Museum's family-friendly exhibitions and displays explore life in the tropics from prehistoric times to modern day. Located in the heart of Townsville, the Museum has temporary and permanent exhibitions to captivate visitors and their school holiday programs offer something for kids of all ages. The Great Gallery is dominated by a replica of the HMS Pandora, the ship sent by the British Admiralty in 1790 to capture the Bounty and her mutinous crew in Tahiti. Tragically, on her return journey in 1791, Pandora hit the Great Barrier Reef and sank. She remained undiscovered for 186 years and today, objects recovered from the wreck are part of this permanent exhibition. Dig a little deeper into the stories behind the exhibitions and displays with a daily program of talks and tours starting at 10.30am. Paid street parking is available outside the Museum, and free parking (time limits apply) is available on The Strand, about 200 metres from the Museum.
The inaugural sculpture in the Southern Hemisphere’s first Museum of Underwater Art, the 'Ocean Siren' is installed alongside North Queensland’s iconic Strand Jetty in Townsville. 'Ocean Siren' is modelled on local Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner Takoda Johnson, with a vision to inspire reef and ocean conservation action and achieve positive environmental outcomes. The ‘Ocean Siren’ reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef weather station on the Great Barrier Reef and changes colour in response to live variations in water temperature.
Journey back to the late 1880s and discover a quaint collection of heritage houses and their stories at the National Trust Heritage Centre. The three heritage houses featured at the centre have been furnished and restored to their original period glory and include a Worker's Dwelling (1878), a grand villa residence known as The Currajong (1889) and an early North Queensland farm residence known as The Farmhouse (1921). Guided tours are available.
The Old Brandon Church is the place to go if you love historic buildings. Formerly Saint Patrick's Catholic Church, the building is listed on the Registers of both the National Estate and the National Trust of Queensland. This excellent example of a 'carpenter Gothic' church has stood on two sites in Brandon. After severe damage from cyclone Aivu in 1989, it was purchased by the Burdekin Shire Council, and in 1991 moved to its present site. It has been loving restored and is an excellent subject for structural photography. On Mondays, combine your visit to see this beautiful building with a visit to the Burdekin Machinery Preservationist's shed right next door. The Old Brandon Church is an hour's drive south of Townsville, and five minutes north of Ayr.
Housed in one of Townsville’s finest heritage buildings, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is a dynamic visual arts centre and has a significant collection of North Queensland art. It is Townsville’s foremost gallery with an exciting and diverse program of local, national and international exhibitions, with a special focus on exhibitions featuring North Queensland artists. Floor talks, lectures, education programs and performances of music, theatre and dance supplement exhibitions. The Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is located in the heart of the city centre on the corner of Flinders Mall and Denham Street.
Pinnacles Gallery is a dynamic art space committed to offering a diverse exhibition program with a strong community focus. Pinnacles Gallery is located in Townsville's premier Riverway precinct in Thuringowa, providing a perfect backdrop for you to enjoy local and touring exhibitions of visual arts, craft, social history and more. Once you have browsed the latest exhibition, take a swim in Riverway lagoon, stroll along the riverfront under the shade of the large rain trees or catch a performance at the Riverway Arts Centre.
Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium is the the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and the Australian Government's national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself in the underwater viewing tunnel offering magical views of a living coral reef and the predators that prowl the water depths. Discover beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef. Home to the world's largest living coral reef aquarium, the 2.5 million litre coral reef exhibition will open your eyes to an amazing world filled with thousands of charismatic marine creatures. Appreciate the challenges faced by Reef HQ Aquarium's Turtle Hospital patients and how you can play a role in protecting marine turtles in the Great Barrier Reef. The turtle hospital operates and promotes the C.A.R.E (Conserve. Act. Rehabilitate. Education) philosophy playing a key role in raising community awareness. Join their experienced and friendly interpretation staff on one of Reef HQ Aquarium's premier visitor experiences. Let their volunteers inspire you as they share their passion for the Great Barrier Reef.
Unleash your inner scientist at the Sciencentre at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. A discovery-zone with plenty of fun where you can get hands on with a range of interactive exhibits and discover how science challenges the human body, exercises the brain and stimulates the senses. Explore the world of science through play. Follow your curiosity, ask questions, test your ideas and use your imagination in this exciting, interactive and experience-rich environment. Challenge your friends, solve puzzles and learn about how science is a part of the things we do every day. Be curious. Be a scientist at Sciencentre.
Imagine back to the days of the 1800s, when the gold rush was at its prime and the township of Charters Towers was the second largest city in Queensland. An arcade was designed by Sydney architect Mark Day and built by Sandbrook Brothers of Sydney in 1888 for local civic leader and businessman Alexander Malcolm. Known then as the Royal Arcade, it housed one of Australia's first regional stock exchanges, the Charters Towers Stock Exchange from 1890. At one time the price of gold was set in that very Arcade, an indication of the importance of the Charters Towers' economy at the time. Today, the stockbroker's offices have been converted into shops and make for an interesting insight into the buildings history. Wander through the Don Roderick Gallery, enjoy the building's magnificent architecture and don't miss the "Calling of the Card," a ghostly reminder of Charters Towers' golden days.
Explore the World Theatre, a cultural complex where the unique blend of heritage architecture and state of the art technology meet. Browse at your own leisure and check with the friendly staff for details of the live shows, movie times, morning melodies and the free local and touring exhibitions of art, sculpture, photography and more. For an interesting insight into the past ask the staff to tell you the story of the 'Murder on Mosman'.
Experience the natural beauty and tranquil environment of TYTO Wetlands, a unique 90-hectare natural wetland which is home to over 245 species of birds, native Australian wildlife and numerous tropical plant species. Take a leisurely stroll along the four kilometres of walkways and stop along the way to enjoy the lookouts and viewing platforms. TYTO Wetlands is located just 500 metres from the township of Ingham and situated just a few hundred metres off the Bruce Highway down Cooper Street; TYTO Wetlands is a carefully preserved natural environment that integrates lagoons, walking tracks and native flora. The area is named after the endangered Eastern Grass Owl (TYTO Longimembris) TYTO meaning monkey faced owl that can be found in the Hinchinbrook Shire, one of the few places in the world where this owl can be spotted regularly. These owl can be seen leaving their grassy habitat just on dusk. The TYTO Precinct also features an interactive and informative Visitor Information Centre, Regional Art Gallery, Parklands, Conference Centre and Library.
Located on the outskirts of Charters Towers, the Venus Gold Battery offers an insight into an amazing real life gold rush of the late nineteenth century. The Battery is of national cultural significance as the largest surviving Battery relic in Australia and the oldest surviving Battery in Queensland. Constructed in 1872, it was a public or custom mill in its prime and became a State Battery in 1919 to provide ore crushing facilities for small miners long after other mills had closed. It ceased commercial operations in 1973 after a century of service. Guided tours are available daily. One of the highlights is a fascinating film presentation that shows not only the process of extracting gold from ore, but also the story of the Battery's working life and some of its ghosts.
This National Trust museum houses a large collection of photographs, equipment and other memorabilia that reflects Charters Towers' golden and military past. Their friendly volunteers are only too willing to share their special stories and demonstrate some of the equipment that is housed in the historic Burns Philp building, built in 1888. Ask for a demonstration of the flying fox (the Lampson Aerial Cash System from the old Pollards building). There are many other items too that will pull you into the drama and excitement that was Charters Towers 130 odd years ago. History buffs and collectors can put themselves to the test with the Museum's display of objects that so far have defied efforts to identify or date and the volunteers are delighted to show them off. Charters Towers has a proud military history from the Boer to Vietnam wars, housed in the Charles Wallace Military display. One of the more poignant pieces from World War I is a pair of half knitted socks, abandoned when a mum received news that her son had been killed, they are displayed exactly as she left them 100 years ago. Allow half an hour at least.