Traditional owners and custodians, the Bindal and Wulgurukaba People are the first people to have lived in the Townsville region. Archaeological sites near Townsville suggest that the land has been occupied for over 10,000 years. 

The Wulgurukaba people tell the story of the creation snake who came down through the Herbert River and went out to sea creating the Hichinbrook Channel and down to what we now know as the Palm and Magnetic Islands. Along the creations snake’s journey, its body fragmented, leaving parts scattered along the coast. The tail of the snake is located at Halifax Bay, its body lays at Palm Island, while the head rests at Arcadia, on Magnetic Island. 

In 1770, James Cook visited the Townsville region on his first voyage to Australia, however, he did not actually land there. The first Europeans to record a local landing were Captain Phillip Parker King and botanist Alan Cunningham in 1819. It wasn’t until 1864 that Townsville was officially founded as a port for the fledgling pastoral industry of North Queensland. Subsequent to the discovery of gold in the surrounding hinterland, the town developed into the de-facto capital of North Queensland. 

Townsville is garrison city, with strong military ties dating back to WWII. Here you will find Lavarack Barracks, a large Army base and RAAF site.