The Townsville Heritage Centre is located at Castling Street in Townsville and displays three typical North Queensland houses on one site. Established in 1978, the Townsville Heritage Centre is quintessential to Townsville’s heritage. Take a guided tour and hear fascinating stories of the buildings and the people who lived in each of them. Learn also how they are linked to the search for passenger ship SS Yongala which disappeared in 1911.
See the three heritage houses featured at the centre, all having been furnished and restored to their original period glory. There is 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). All furnished appropriately to the people who would have lived in each house, with emphasis on items made in North Queensland. You’ll gain insight into the lives of workers, wealthier businessmen and professionals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Learn how these buildings had associations with the main industries that shaped the north; sugar plantations, gold mines, and pastoral pioneering.
Later giving its name to the present Townsville suburb of Currajong, the history of the house ‘Currajong’ is fascinating. Earlier, it was located on Fulham Road where the Mater Hospital now stands, then moved to its present site 1978.
Originally built in 1888 for Alfred Peter, who founded Gairloch Plantation near Ingham, it was one of the earliest sugar plantations in North Queensland. In 1890 it sold to Edward Hunt who was an early pioneer on both the Ravenswood and Charters Towers goldfields.
John Joseph Fanning purchased the house in 1927. Fanning, a founder of the first Rotary Club in Townsville, was well known as an amateur jockey and show rider.
In 1930 the house was sold to James and Jessie Ferguson. Involved in the pastoral industry, Ferguson’s wife was a granddaughter of one of the first pastoralists to settle in North Queensland. The Fergusons offered ‘Currajong’ to St Matthews Church as a home for British evacuees in 1941.
Early in 1942 the house was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Air Force and used as a hospital. It was at the centre of a complex of large tents and small temporary huts and housed staff along with non critically ill patients. The house was then decommissioned as a hospital in 1944 and handed back to the Fergusons.
September of 1952 saw the Redemptorist Fathers of the Catholic Church purchase ‘Currajong’. They established Townsville’s first monastery in the house before it was was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy in 1955. The Sister built the Mater Hospital beside it in 1962 and the house became a convent for the sisters who ran the hospital.
Townsville Heritage Centre is a much-loved community place and is ideal for all sorts of private gatherings functions. Come and see the stunning grounds and immaculate gardens that make this a very popular wedding and event venue.
Wednesday 10am to 1pm
Saturday 2pm to 4pm
Phone: 07 4771 5873
Adult – $8
Concession – $5
Children under 12 – $2
National Trust members – free
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