Townsville Turns 150: The Old and the News

Townsville Turns 150: The Old and the News

Townsville turns 150: the Old and the News was a year-long celebration of Townsville city’s 150 years (1866-2016).

Duration:15 February 2016 – 29 January 2017

With financial support from the Townsville City Council – T150 Celebration grant

Academic Group:Social Sciences
Key Words:

Townsville T150, Townsville Media, Regional Newspapers, Regional Media, Historical Celebration, Timeline


Housed at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, Flinders Street, Townsville, the exhibition shows Townsville 150 years through its media. The exhibition combined a detailed timeline, artefacts, historical pictures, newspaper clippings, ABC radio footage and local television news reports of Townsville’s history.

Visitors learnt about the history of Townsville through a series of informative panels. Each panel told the main story and historical event of the decade, a media event, and profile of a prominent person, with artefacts helping to bring the stories to life.

From the declaration to make Townsville a municipality and later a city, the first murder, the Japanese bombing of Townsville, the early meatworks and Brewery, growth of city shopping, the Townsville show, first flights from our Garbutt airport, first Radio and television stations, and the North Queensland Cowboys NRL historic Premiership win in 2015.

Visitors were greeted with a panel outlining the area that came to be known as Townsville after 1866. This panel acknowledges the traditional owners, the first

mentions of Cleveland Bay in European literature and tells of how the city got its name.

Notable residents were celebrated, with dedicated space given over to the Eddie Koki Mabo story, John Melton Black, and James Morrell.

A reading corner let visitors step back in time with reproduction copies of old newspapers, supplied by the Townsville Bulletin, University of Queensland, and the national library Trove.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, James Cook University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Harding, and Townsville City MP Scott Stewart, opened the exhibition along with local members of the community and invited dignitaries.

Project partners

James Cook University, Museum of Tropical Queensland, and Townsville Bulletin Newspaper.

Project team

  • James Cook University, College of Arts, Society and Education, School of Social Science and School of Humanities.
  • Project Manager/ Principal Investigator – Dr Maxine Newlands
  • Historian and Chief Investigator- Dr Claire Brennan
  • Social Media Content – Dr. Marie M’Balla-Ndi
  • Senior Research Assistant - Mr. Patrick Hodgson
  • Museum of Tropical Queensland
  • Exhibition Curators Vivian Moran and Dr Jason Elliott
  • Townsville Bulletin, Managing Editor, Mrs Ann Roebuck
  • Townsville Bulletin Historian and Journalist Ian Fraser

For further information, please contact the Principal Investigator, Dr Maxine Newlands at