prevContents Next

Discovery of Charters Towers, 1871

It is now a little over 76 years since gold was discovered on Charters Towers, which later became famous as a reefing goldfield. Before its discovery there were both alluvial and reefing gold fields. in the Kennedy electorate. The field embraced an area nearly as large as Victoria and at the time was represented by only one member of Parliament. In the latter part of 1871 Mosman and party discovered gold but it was not till the 2nd January, 1872, that the fact was reported to the Gold Commissioner then stationed at Ravenswood and a prospecting protection area and four, men's ground was obtained from Comissioner Charters
Jupiter Mosman
 The report by Mr. Mosman of the discovery by his party of rich reefs near the "Towers Mountain" (Towers Hill), which he named the North Australian, General Wyndham and Washington, soon brought about a great influx of people to the locality of the new rush and a gold field was immediately proclaimed under the name of the CHARTERS TOWERS GOLDFIELD, so called out of compliment to the then Commissioner of Ravenswood, Mr. W. E. S. M. Charters. As to the first part of the name, the other part being intended to designate the mountains which resembled the hills or mountains called tors or towers in many parts of England. Many of those who 'came with the rush expressed the opinion that it was no good, that the stone was white and hungry and that all the gold in the stone could be seen. Results have shown the fallacy of that opinion, yet some of those who made this assertion took up claims which gave them handsome returns.
Had it been an alluvial find on the same scale, its rapid development would have caused no surprise, for diggers flock more eagerly to where gold, is easily obtained and returns quicker than to where capital and machinery is required. Within four or five months after the prospecting area had been granted, a large population had settled on the field and a town and stores, hotels, banks and other businesses had sprung into existence, the buildings would, not have shamed the old established towns of the colony, which Queensland was at the time of the discovery.
 The number of the reefs which cropped on the surface were legion, most of them showing gold, which was the main factor. The extraordinary progress of the field, the alluvial lead found to the east of Millchester called the DEEP LEAD was discovered in July, 1892, the town being first laid, out in this locality on account of it being the only creek then available for water, but later on the superiority of the site now occupied .by the present town caused the population to settle down here.
The first store and- hotel built on the Towers was called the Royal. It was on the ground the present Royal Hotel occupies and was owned by men of the name of Owen and Woodburn. They previously kept a store at the Cape,