City of Thuringowa

The City of Thuringowa (19°18′26″S 146°43′54″E / 19.30722°S 146.73167°E / -19.30722; 146.73167Coordinates: 19°18′26″S 146°43′54″E / 19.30722°S 146.73167°E / -19.30722; 146.73167) was a city and local government area in North Queensland, Australia covering the northern and western parts of what is now Townsville. The suburb of Thuringowa Central is the main business centre in this area.

Former City of Thuringowa
Thuringowa LGA Qld.png
Location within Queensland
Population59,164 (2006 census)[1]
 • Density31.6910/km2 (82.0794/sq mi)
Established1846 1st Settlement, 1879–1903 Division, 1903–1986 Shire, 1986–2008 City.
Area1,866.9 km2 (720.8 sq mi)
RegionW/SW from Townsville
The city of thuringowa.svg
WebsiteFormer City of Thuringowa

Thuringowa was named after the German state of Thuringia where the shire's first chairman, John von Stieglitz, originated.[2] Prior to its proclamation as a city on 1 January 1986, Thuringowa was a large rural shire, almost surrounding the City of Townsville.

In 2007 the Queensland Government recommended that the Thuringowa City Council and the Townsville City Council be merged as part of the review of councils and boundaries, with the merged entity to be referred to as the Townsville City Council and the city being called the New Townsville City.[3] The transition was completed with the election of a new combined Council on 15 March 2008.


Map of Thuringowa Division and adjacent local government areas, March 1902

Early historyEdit

Prior to European settlement, the Nyawaygi Aboriginal people lived in the area around Thuringowa, Townsville and the Burdekin. The earliest European on record to live in Thuringowa was James Morrill whose boat washed ashore in 1846.[4]

In 1860, the newly formed Queensland Government passed an act opening up the area to pastoral leases, and by 1861 there were many runs in Thuringowa.[4] By 1865, Robert Towns and John Melton Black had purchased a number of properties throughout Thuringowa. In 1865 Robert Towns built a boiling down works – at the time, there was no facilities for shipping cattle or sheep, so in 1865 Andrew Ball and Mark Reid left Woodstock Station to find a harbour around the Cleveland Bay shores and the Town and port of Townsville was established at the mouth of Ross Creek.[4]

Local governmentEdit

The City of Thuringowa had its genesis in the Thuringowa Division, created on 11 November 1879 as one of 74 divisions around Queensland under the Divisional Boards Act 1879 with a population of 638.[5][4][6]

On 16 January 1888, the Ayr Division was created out of Subdivision 3 of the Thuringowa Division in 1888 under the Divisional Boards Act 1887.[7]

Considerable progress ensued over the following decades – by 1902, Thuringowa had 1,020 dwellings listed on its ratebooks.[4] Early chairmen Arthur Bundock and Joseph Hodel were involved in construction of key architecture such as the Ross River Bridge, the bridge at the Causeway and the Stuart Creek Bridge. These roads and bridges were constructed to serve not only Thuringowa's rural base but also its residential subdivisions of Hermit Park, Mundingburra and Rosslea. Water reticulation and sanitary services were established in these suburbs and street lighting and beautification work was carried out along Charters Towers Road. Also during this period the Council's first administration building was constructed at the Causeway, near the intersection of Flinders Street West and Ingham Road.[4]

Under the Local Authorities Act 1902, divisions were renamed shires, and on 31 March 1903, Thuringowa Division became the Shire of Thuringowa.[6][8] The period up to 1918 was one of consolidation and minor works, rather than major projects.[4]

In 1918, much of the Shire of Thuringowa's urban area was transferred to Townsville.[4] This initially caused great hardship for the Shire, as its rate base had been reduced to 2,500 ratepayers and its council headquarters was outside the shire. The Council adopted a conservative approach to policy during this period that included not only the depression years of the 1930s but also during World War II, when the area became an important staging point and was host to significant numbers of military personnel.[4]

From the 1960s onwards, significant suburban development and growth took place in the area and the Council was providing new facilities and infrastructure. In 1979, a new Shire administration centre was constructed, moving it back into the local area, and on 1 January 1986, the Shire of Thuringowa became the City of Thuringowa.[4][8][9]

In 2007, the state government engaged in a programme of local government reform centred on amalgamating LGAs across Queensland. The Local Government Advisory Committee recommended that the Cities of Thuringowa and Townsville should be amalgamated into a new City of Townsville.[10] Though it was the source of some controversy, the merger ultimately took place, with the City of Thuringowa ceasing to exist in March 2008.[9][11] Les Tyrell, Thuringowa's mayor of 17 years, won against Townsville's mayor, 19-year incumbent Tony Mooney, in the mayoral election for the combined city.


Thuringowa grew in population rapidly from the 1980s becoming one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia.[12] The population had increased from 26,000 in 1986 to over 65,000 in 2007.

year census
% growth
per annum
1936 1,500
1954 2,627
1961 2,572
1966 2,863 2.17
1971 3,432 3.69
1976 10,914 26.03
1981 17,728 10.19
1986 30,104 11.17
1991 37,722 4.62
1996 44,319 3.27
2001 52,715 2.90
2006 62,935 2.96
2007[13] 65,782 4.5

More:   Thuringowa travel guide from Wikivoyage


The City of Thuringowa included the following settlements:

Municipal leadersEdit

The following is a list of chairmen and mayors of the Thuringowa Division, Shire of Thuringowa and City of Thuringowa from 1880 until 2008:[14]

Year Name
1880–1882 William Aplin
1882–1883 Frederick Gordon
1883–1884 James Miller and Arthur Glennie Bundock
1884–1885 William Clayton and Arthur Glennie Bundock
1885–1888 Arthur Glennie Bundock
1888–1890 Frederick Johnson
1890–1891 Joseph Hodel
1891–1892 Joseph Hodel and Frederick Johnson
1892–1898 Joseph Hodel
1898–1900 Robert Mawby
1900–1901 Frederick Johnson
1901–1910 Joseph Hodel
1910–1912 Henry Abbot
1912–1914 Joseph Hodel
Year Name
1914–1915 Edward Crowder or Joseph Hodel
1915–1916 Joseph Hodel
1916–1917 Edward Crowder
1917–1920 William Ireland
1920–1929 James Cummins
1930–1948 Charles Wallace Wordsworth
March–May 1949 James Kelso
1949–1960 William Howard Favell Wordsworth
1961–1966 John Richard Brabon
1967–1969 William DeCourcey
1970–1973 John Richard Brabon
1973–1976 William DeCourcey
1976–1991 Dan Gleeson (Mayor 86–91)
1991–2008 Les Tyrell


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Thuringowa (C) (Local Government Area)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  2. ^ Bateman, Daniel (13 June 2007). "Save Thuringowa". Townsville Bulletin. p. 13.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the New Townsville City". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Thuringowa City Council (15 November 2004). "History of Thuringowa". Archived from the original on 18 September 2006. Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Proclamation [Thuringowa Division]". Queensland Government Gazette. 11 November 1879. p. 25:1006.
  6. ^ a b "Agency ID 1885, Thuringowa Divisional Board". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Proclamation [Ayr Division]". Queensland Government Gazette. 21 January 1888. p. 43:170.
  8. ^ a b "Agency ID 1886, Thuringowa Shire Council". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Agency ID 8485, Thuringowa City Council". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  10. ^ Queensland Local Government Reform Commission (July 2007). Report of the Local Government Reform Commission (PDF). Vol. 2. pp. 334–339. ISBN 978-1-921057-11-3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Agency ID 6061, Townsville City Council". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Townsville Region: A Social Atlas – Townsville City Council". Archived from the original on 10 November 2007.
  13. ^ "Table 3 - Population Estimates by Local Government Area 2001 to 2007". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 August 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022. XLS Speadsheet Download
  14. ^ Thuringowa Library Heritage Services. "INFORMATION SHEET NUMBER 10 – CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF CHAIRMEN AND MAYORS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit