Gold is the currency that built Charters Towers into what was, at one time, the second-largest city in Queensland. Within a couple of years of the discovery of gold the population numbered over 30,000.
Between 1872 and 1916 total gold production was 6,800,000 ounces. It also boasted one of Australia’s first few regional stock exchanges. Restored in 1972, the exchange stands among some imposing colonial architecture, which pays mute testament to the generous diggers who built the town out of gold dust and nuggets.
Modern methods of gold extraction have led to a second boom, and the city celebrated the 21st century with a new wave of wealth and prosperity.
About 135 kilometres south-west of Townsville, Charters Towers has so much of historical interest to offer. Take a look at the Venus Battery ore crushing mill, owned and run by the Charters Towers City Council, which is just one of 29 that operated here in the boom times.
There's a wealth of history and romance locked into the chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The restored building is still known among the locals as Pfeiffer House, built in 1882 as a love nest for his new bride, Mary Donovan, by itinerant German miner Frederick Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer had spent more than 17 luckless years digging on countless gold fields in New Zealand and Australia before he struck it rich in 1875. His homestead stands near the remains of the mine that made Pfeiffer a rich and influential Charters Towers burgher.