Normanton, Queensland

Normanton is an outback town and coastal locality in the Shire of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia.[2][3] In the 2016 census the locality of Normanton had a population of 1,257 people, of whom 750 (60%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people,[1] while the town of Normanton had a population of 1,210 people, of whom 743 (62%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.[4]

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Normanton
Queensland
Normanton-queensland-australia-gulf-savannah-gulf-of-carpetnaria.jpg
Entry into Normanton
Normanton is located in Queensland
Normanton
Normanton
Coordinates17°40′13″S 141°04′45″E / 17.6702°S 141.0791°E / -17.6702; 141.0791 (Normanton (town centre))Coordinates: 17°40′13″S 141°04′45″E / 17.6702°S 141.0791°E / -17.6702; 141.0791 (Normanton (town centre))
Population1,257 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density0.17552/km2 (0.45459/sq mi)
Established1867
Postcode(s)4890
Area7,161.7 km2 (2,765.1 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
Location
LGA(s)Shire of Carpentaria
State electorate(s)Traeger
Federal division(s)Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
33.4 °C
92 °F
21.3 °C
70 °F
921.7 mm
36.3 in
Localities around Normanton:
Gulf of Carpentaria Karumba Howitt
Karron
Carpentaria Normanton Blackbull
Stokes Stokes Claraville

It is the administrative centre of the Shire of Carpentaria. It has a tropical savanna climate and the main economy of the locality is cattle grazing.

The town is one terminus of the isolated Normanton to Croydon railway line, which was built during gold rush days in the 1890s. The Gulflander passenger train operates once a week.

The "Big Barramundi" and a statue of a large saltwater crocodile are notable attractions of the town, along with many heritage-listed sites.

HistoryEdit

The town sits in the traditional lands of the Gkuthaarn (Kareldi) and Kukatj people.[5]

The town takes its name from the Norman River, which was named in honour of William Henry Norman of the Victorian Naval Forces, who commanded the sloop HMCS Victoria in the search for the explorers Burke and Wills and also conducted hydrographic surveys of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait to identify reefs and other marine hazards.[6]

An expedition to explore the Norman River and Bynoe River leading to the identification of new town site on the Norman River in May 1867.[7][8][9] The new town of Norman was surveyed by George Phillips in December 1867 and was officially gazetted on 8 August 1868.[2][10] It was seen as an alternative to Burketown which had issues with fever and flooding.[8] On 11 October 1868 the first land sale of 167 town lots of 14 and 12 acre (0.10 and 0.20 ha) was held at the Norman Police Office.[11]

Norman River Post Office opened on 13 June 1868 and was renamed Normanton by 1872.[12]

Normanton State School opened in September 1882.[13] In January 1976 a secondary department was added to the school.[14] The school celebrated its centenary in 1982.[15]

The Burns Philp store, a general mercantile store and agency office, was opened in 1884. It is oldest intact Burns Philp store in Queensland.[16]

Normanton grew slowly until the discovery of gold at Croydon in 1885[17] provided a major boost, attracting people from a variety of cultures, including Chinese people drawn to the gold fields.[7] The town prosperity was assisted by the completion of the Normanton – Croydon railway in 1889 which saw Normanton becoming the acknowledged gateway to north-western Queensland. The new link was to bring both people and wealth to the area.[17][18]

 
Old Customs House, Normanton, ca. 1913. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The population reached 1,251 by 1891.[19] The gold boom at Croydon was short-lived and the completion of the Townsville – Cloncurry railway in 1908, reduced Normanton's relative importance as a centre.[17] After the gold ran out and the mining industry grew to a halt in the early 1900s, pastoralism became the main industry of the region.[18]

Some Aboriginal groups in the region were moved on to cattle stations to provide labour, while other groups were more or less extinguished. Many were moved to missions on Mornington Island and Doomadgee. Aboriginal camps were set up on the outskirts of the town, and the first Aboriginal reserve was gazetted in 1935; both were still in existence until at least 1976.[18]

By 1947 the town's population had declined to 234.[19]

In the 1960s there was a resurgence in Normanton's population as a gateway to the Gulf of Carpentaria with major industrial development taking place in the prawn fishing industry at nearby Karumba at the mouth of the Norman River.[17]

Gulf Christian College was established on 24 January 1990 by the Normanton Assembly of God Church.[14][20]

The Normanton library was opened in 2004.[21]

In 2006 census, the town's population was 1,100, with 60% identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.[22]

In the 2016 census the locality of Normanton had a population of 1,257 people, of whom 750 (60%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people,[1] while the town of Normanton had a population of 1,210 people, of whom 743 (62%) identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.[4]

Native titleEdit

After seeking rights since 1996, in November 2012 the traditional owners, the Gkuthaarn and Kukatj people, lodged a claim for native title over an area around Normanton stretching 16,000 square kilometres (6,200 sq mi). On 2 July 2020 an Indigenous land use agreement was signed,[23] and they were granted rights to fish, hunt and perform their ceremonies on the land. Pastoralists are still able to run cattle on the cattle stations in the area, and the Aboriginal people assist with management of the land (such as pest and weed control) and cultural heritage sites. They are already monitoring and counting of migratory seabirds, with many participating as Indigenous rangers in the Normanton Land and Sea Ranger Group. Some land in the southern part of the claimed area has been determined as "native title extinguished".[5][24]

GeographyEdit

Normanton is in the Gulf Country region of northwest Queensland, just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, on the Norman River in Queensland. It is a small cattle town and coastal locality, and administrative centre of the Shire of Carpentaria.[6][25][7]

An unusual feature 106 kilometres (66 mi) southwest of Normanton is Bang Bang Jump Up, one of the few hills located in the middle of an expansive, flat grassland.[26]

ClimateEdit

Normanton has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw) with two distinct seasons. There is a hot, humid and extremely uncomfortable wet season from December to March and a hot and generally rainless dry season usually extending from April to November. During the wet season most roads in the area are usually closed by heavy rainfall, which on several occasions has exceeded 650 millimetres (26 in) in a month or 250 millimetres (10 in) in a day from tropical cyclones. On occasions, as with all of Queensland, the wet season may fail and deliver as little as 240 millimetres (9.4 in) between December 1934 and March 1935[27]

Temperatures are uniformly hot, ranging from 36.8 °C (98 °F) in November just before the wet season begins to 29 °C (84 °F) at the height of the dry season in July. In the wet season, temperatures are marginally lower, but extremely high humidity means conditions are very uncomfortable and wet bulb temperatures averages 25 °C (77 °F) and can reach 28 °C (82 °F). In the dry season, lower humidity, cloudless days and cool nights provides for more pleasant conditions.

Climate data for Normanton Post Office, Queensland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.1
(109.6)
41.0
(105.8)
40.1
(104.2)
39.5
(103.1)
37.2
(99.0)
35.6
(96.1)
35.6
(96.1)
38.3
(100.9)
40.1
(104.2)
41.8
(107.2)
43.3
(109.9)
43.3
(109.9)
43.3
(109.9)
Average high °C (°F) 34.7
(94.5)
33.9
(93.0)
34.2
(93.6)
34.0
(93.2)
31.7
(89.1)
29.2
(84.6)
29.1
(84.4)
31.1
(88.0)
33.9
(93.0)
35.9
(96.6)
36.8
(98.2)
36.1
(97.0)
33.4
(92.1)
Average low °C (°F) 25.1
(77.2)
24.9
(76.8)
24.4
(75.9)
22.4
(72.3)
19.1
(66.4)
16.1
(61.0)
15.2
(59.4)
16.5
(61.7)
19.5
(67.1)
22.6
(72.7)
24.7
(76.5)
25.3
(77.5)
21.3
(70.3)
Record low °C (°F) 18.3
(64.9)
17.3
(63.1)
16.7
(62.1)
14.4
(57.9)
7.2
(45.0)
6.7
(44.1)
7.0
(44.6)
6.6
(43.9)
11.1
(52.0)
13.7
(56.7)
15.5
(59.9)
18.9
(66.0)
6.6
(43.9)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 260.2
(10.24)
249.2
(9.81)
157.7
(6.21)
30.9
(1.22)
7.5
(0.30)
9.2
(0.36)
3.2
(0.13)
1.7
(0.07)
3.0
(0.12)
10.5
(0.41)
45.1
(1.78)
144.4
(5.69)
922.6
(36.34)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 13.9 13.9 9.4 2.4 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.4 1.3 4.4 9.0 57.1
Average relative humidity (%) 74 78 70 57 52 52 48 44 45 49 54 65 57
Source: [28]
 
An early October sunset at Mutton Hole Wetlands near Normanton, QLD Australia.

EconomyEdit

The major industry is cattle grazing with a number of homesteads in the locality, including:[29]

TourismEdit

Tourism has recently become an important part of the economy of Normanton, with the Gulflander a significant draw-card.[19]

Among Normanton's most notable features is a statue of an 8.64-metre (28.3 ft) long saltwater crocodile named Krys, the largest ever taken, which was shot by Krystina Pawlowska in July 1957 in the Norman River.[30][31]

 
The Big Barramundi

"The Big Barramundi", which is 6 metres (20 ft) long, is also located in the town.[32]

Barramundi and threadfin salmon can be caught in the river.[33]

There are a number of reminders of Normanton's history and development that visitors to the area are still able to see today.  These include the Normanton cemetery which dates from 1867, the railway station and the station building both dating from 1891, as well as the former Burns Philp & Co. store.[34]

Normanton railway station is a railway museum and the terminus for rides on the Gulflander (17°40′22″S 141°04′21″E / 17.6728°S 141.0724°E / -17.6728; 141.0724 (Normanton railway station)).[35]

The tourist information centre is located in the Burns Philp Building (17°40′04″S 141°04′53″E / 17.6678°S 141.0813°E / -17.6678; 141.0813 (Tourist Information Centre)).[35]

Heritage listingsEdit

Normanton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

FacilitiesEdit

Normanton Police Station is at 55 Haig Street (17°40′08″S 141°04′46″E / 17.6688°S 141.0794°E / -17.6688; 141.0794 (Normanton Police Station)).[43][44]

Normanton Hospital is a public hospital on Hospital Road (17°40′42″S 141°05′11″E / 17.6783°S 141.0865°E / -17.6783; 141.0865 (Normanton Public Hospital)).[45]

Normanton Fire Station is a rural fire station at 57 Thompson Street (17°40′23″S 141°04′45″E / 17.6731°S 141.0793°E / -17.6731; 141.0793 (Normanton Fire Station)).[43][46] The Normanton SES Facility (17°40′22″S 141°04′47″E / 17.6729°S 141.0796°E / -17.6729; 141.0796 (Normanton SES Facility)) and the Normanton Ambulance Station are co-located with the fire station.[43]

There are two cemeteries in Normanton:

Normanton Solar Farm (17°40′51″S 141°03′00″E / 17.6809°S 141.0500°E / -17.6809; 141.0500 (Normanton Solar Farm)) generates solar power to provide greater reliability to the town, which is supplied via long lines from distant power stations.[45][49]

The Centrelink office for government payment and services is at 5 Old Croydon Road (17°40′24″S 141°04′26″E / 17.6733°S 141.0738°E / -17.6733; 141.0738 (Centrelink)).[50][51]

EducationEdit

Normanton State School is a government primary and secondary (Prep-10) school for boys and girls at Little Brown Street (17°40′19″S 141°04′44″E / 17.6720°S 141.0790°E / -17.6720; 141.0790 (Normanton State School)).[52][53] In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 132 students with 23 teachers and 24 non-teaching staff (16 full-time equivalent).[54] It includes a special education program.[52]

Gulf Christian College is a private primary and secondary (Prep-9) school for boys and girls at 24-30 Brown Street (17°40′15″S 141°04′47″E / 17.6709°S 141.0798°E / -17.6709; 141.0798 (Gulf Christian College)).[52][55] It offers Prep, Primary (1-6) and Middle (7-9) School education. In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 96 students with 9 teachers and 14 non-teaching staff (11 full-time equivalent).[54]

There is no secondary education to Year 12 available in or nearby Normanton.[56] The options are distance education and boarding schools. Many of the students of Gulf Christian College attend Senior (10-12) School at Nambour Christian College.[57]

TAFE Queensland operates a technical college campus in Normanton (17°40′49″S 141°04′28″E / 17.6802°S 141.0745°E / -17.6802; 141.0745 (TAFE technical college)).[45]

AmenitiesEdit

The Normanton branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association has its rooms in Landsborough Street.[58]

Bynoe Hall is a public hall (17°40′15″S 141°04′27″E / 17.6707°S 141.0742°E / -17.6707; 141.0742 (Bynoe Hall)).[50]

Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church is at 26 Dutton Street (17°40′22″S 141°04′27″E / 17.6727°S 141.0742°E / -17.6727; 141.0742 (Our Lady Help of Christian Catholic church)). It is within the Gulf Savannah Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cairns.[59]

The Aboriginal and Islander Christian Fellowship operates the Normanton Christian Centre at 46 Dutton Street (17°40′29″S 141°04′34″E / 17.6747°S 141.0760°E / -17.6747; 141.0760 (Normanton Christian Centre)).[60]

There is a boat ramp with a floating walkway and jetty on the south bank of the Norman River (17°39′52″S 141°05′14″E / 17.6644°S 141.0871°E / -17.6644; 141.0871 (Landsborough Street boat ramp)). It is managed by the Carpentaria Shire Council.[61]

Normanton public library and visitor information services are located in the historic Burns Philp Building at the corner of Caroline and Landsborough Streets.[62]

There are a number of sporting facilities:

TransportEdit

 
The Gulflander, 2011

The Gulf Developmental Road, part of the Savannah Way tourist drive, commences 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south of the town.[56]

The Gulflander passenger train operates weekly on a 151 km (94 mi) remnant of the Normanton to Croydon historical railway. The Normanton railway station features a large steel frame with an open canopy to provide shade.[10]

Normanton Airport is on Airport Road (17°41′18″S 141°04′18″E / 17.6883°S 141.0717°E / -17.6883; 141.0717 (Normanton Aerodrome)).[63][64] There are services from Normanton to destinations including Cairns, Burketown, Doomadgee and Mount Isa.

There are a number of airstrips within the locality at:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Normanton (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.  
  2. ^ a b "Normanton – town in Shire of Carpentaria (entry 43962)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Normanton – locality in Shire of Carpentaria (entry 44655)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Normanton (UCL)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 15 November 2017.  
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External linksEdit