IT WAS in 1871 when 12 year old horseboy Jupiter Mosman noticed something glistening in a creek bed while looking for some missing horses, little did he or the accompanying three gold prospectors - Mosman, Clarke and Fraser, suspect that the find would mark a new era in gold discovery in Queensland. They called the find ‘Charters Towers’ and a town was born.
News of Jupiter’s find on what would be called the North Australian Reef was quick to travel.
By the end of the 1872, over 3,000 people had arrived in the hope of striking it rich.
They all had one thing in common: a willingness to gamble on their luck in the hope of making their fortune.
Charters Towers: ‘The World’ at Their Feet a new display at the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville, focuses on life in the burgeoning goldfields town at the turn of last century.
In partnership with Charters Towers Regional Council, Zara Clark Museum and Charters Towers & Dalrymple Archives Group, Charters Towers: ‘The World’ at Their Feet is one of a series of displays at the Museum of Tropical Queensland celebrating different aspects of North Queensland’s colourful history.
Queensland Museum CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said the collaboration had brought significant knowledge and access to unique collections to the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
“Charters Towers: ‘The World’ at Their Feet provides a glimpse into the heady days of the gold rush in what was, for a time, Australia’s richest goldfield,” Professor Miller said.
“The Zara Clark Museum and Charters Towers & Dalrymple Archives Group have contributed unique objects and fascinating stories from a frontier town that worked hard and played hard,” she said.
Exhibition curator Viv Moran said early Charters Towers loved its gold, gambling and grog as it grew into a bustling town.
“Charters Towers earned the nickname of ‘The World’ as a cosmopolitan community where everything a civilised person could want was provided,” Ms Moran said.
“The display will give locals a glimpse into the early days of Charters Towers and hopefully encourage them to take a trip to the historic town and experience the ongoing legacy of that vibrant era,” she said.
Included in the exhibition are photographs and historic artefacts including gold mining paraphernalia, a goat cart, mahjong tiles, and a range of bottles and glassware recovered from the former goldfields.
The display was officially opened by Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Frank Beveridge on July 27 and he encourages people to visit the display which will run until October 25, 2015.
“Charters Towers has a unique history we are all very proud of but it is a history that we can always learn something more about,” Cr Beveridge said.
Through the support of their councils, locals from Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook receive free entry to the museum and locals from Townsville and the Burdekin receive half-price entry.