Townsville Town Common

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The Townsville Town Common is located approximately 6km north of Townsville. The Common was gazetted as an environmental park on 31st January 1980 and is managed jointly by Townsville City Council and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services. Given the right seasonal conditions - the Town Common can be transformed into a large wetland habitat. There are numerous lookouts and bird watching hides as it is considered one of the best water bird habitats in Australia.

History

On 25 June 1869 an area of 12,160 acres (4925 hectares) was proclaimed as the Townsville Town Common and was to be controlled by the Municipality of Townsville. Various community requirements lead to a reduction in the size of the common. These requirements included:

  • Cemetery
  • Rubbish Depot
  • Abattoir
  • Sewerage Treatment Facility
  • Airport
  • Garbutt Residential Area

The current (2010) size of the common is 3300 hectares which has been increased slightly since 1996 when it was 3245 hectares.

The first ranger was appointed in 1877 with a wage of £1 00 pa. The longest serving ranger was G. H. Rintoul from before 1886 to 1909, however his term was not continuous.

From 1877, the common was used for the agistment of cattle and horses. In 1909 an agistment of 100 goats was also approved. During the early years, impoundments of stray animals and loss of registered stock were the major problems, probably due to the lack of suitable fencing. Windmills, troughs and tanks were erected between 1887 - 1895 and subsequently damaged in 1896 by Cyclone Sigma. A new windmill was erected in 1899. Stock were eventually excluded from the common in 1975.

Between 1877 and 1934 there were a number of common problems - pigs, weeds (Lantana, Prickly Pear and Chinee Apple), the removal of timber and soil and bushfires started by shooting parties. Weed infestations are still a problem today. Between the period 1918 and 1922 the proposal to protect the area for native birds and the prohibition of shooting on the common attracted a lot of conflicts within the community.

References

Townsville Town Common

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