Townsville, Jezzine Barracks

5 ways to discover Townsville’s fascinating history

The charming North Queensland town of Townsville has a rich history. The town played an integral role in the war in the Pacific, and many landmarks remain today, just waiting to be explored.

Lose yourself on uninhabited islands, visit one of its many military ruins, hear stories older than the rainforest, and try to uncover the mysteries of a World War II plane crash as you journey back into Townsville’s history.

Deep dive into the history of the Kissing Point Fort

Kissing Point Fort | historic Townsville

Steeped in history, Kissing Point Fort is home to some imposing reminders of World War II: huge guns pointing out to sea from the point.

The barracks and guns may date back to the late 1800s, but the new 15 hectare heritage precinct, Jezzine Barracks is the perfect backdrop to explore this notable landmark. 32 public artworks span the area, commemorating the military and Aboriginal heritage of the point. Coastal walkways, including an ethno-botanical walk with traditional flora, offer the ideal vantage to explore. The Army Museum of North Queensland sits in the centre of the precinct, with many exhibitions and collections on the history of the Australian Army in North Queensland available for viewing.

Visit Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, The Forts Walk | Townsville history

Magnetic Island played an important role in Townsville’s military history. Not only was it a great buffer to shelter huge amounts of ships, its high hills were the ideal lookout. Powerful lights able to spot planes at over 30,000 feet were installed along Horseshoe and Florence Bay, and you can still find these chilling remnants of the past on the island.

The 1.5 hour Forts Walk is the ideal track to view the island’s fortifications and military infrastructure, as well as offering views to the Palm Island Group in the north and Bowling Green Bay National Park in the south. The walk peaks with sweeping 360 degree views from the top of the fort.

And the island’s history goes well beyond World War II. The Wulgurukaba people have lived on the island and mainland for thousands of years, and their art sites, shell middens and stone tools remain today.

Magnetic Island can be reached by passenger and car ferry services from Townsville, with bicycles, motorbikes and cars for rent on the island, as well as a bus service.

Keen to connect more? Explore more of the natural wonders of Townsville.

Explore a centuries-old Quarantine station

Discover the unique Townsville history and charm of the Cape Pallarenda, which was a strategic defence location in World War II and is home to a quarantine station built in the early 1900s.

This gorgeous spot offers the perfect mix of sunshine and adventure. Walk or ride the trails to see the remaining World War II structures on the headland, dive straight into the sea, or take it easy with a barbeque in the park.

An island of mystery

Hinchinbrook Island

Goosebumps are guaranteed when you venture to untouched Hinchinbrook Island, home to an unsolved World War II mystery.

In 1942 a US B-24 Liberator Bomber crash-landed killing all 12 crew members. The ‘Texas Terror’, as it was known, was not found until 1944 when two Aboriginal men followed a trail of US currency up a river. Two women who were not listed as passengers on the flight were found among the wreckage – their identity still remains unknown.

Hinchinbrook Island is the ideal spot to rekindle your sense of adventure, with breathtaking hiking, kayaking and camping opportunities around every bend. Hike the through rainforest on the Thorsborne Trail (known as one of the best walks on the planet) or kayak the coastline to enjoy the many beaches and catch a glimpse of the wildlife among the mangroves — dugongs and turtles are regulars. Hinchinbrook is also a favourite with bird watchers, with over 66 species to spot.

The Island is just a short ferry ride or private charter from Lucinda or Caldwell.

Know you know about Townsville history, ready to start adventuring? Try these tips for planning your perfect Townsville getaway.