Charters Towers is a city in northern Queensland, Australia. It is inland (south-west) from Townsville on the Flinders Highway. In 2011 the population was 8,234 people. During the last quarter of the 19th century the town boomed as the rich gold deposits under the city were developed. After becoming uneconomic in the 20th century, profitable mining operations have commenced once again.
The town was founded in the 1870s when gold was discovered by chance at Towers Hill on Christmas Eve 1871 by 12-year-old Aboriginal boy, Jupiter Mosman. Jupiter was with a small group of prospectors including Hugh Mosman, James Fraser and George Clarke. Their horses bolted after a flash of lightning. While he was searching Jupiter found both the horses and a nugget of gold in a creek at the base of Towers Hill. Charters originated from the Gold Commissioner, W.S.E.M. Charters. A total of ten major gold reefs were eventually mined.
Such were the boom years, between 1872 and 1899, that Charters Towers hosted its own Stock Exchange. A railway between Charters Towers and the coastal port of Townsville was completed in December 1882. During this period, the population was approximately 30,000, making Charters Towers Queensland's largest city outside of Brisbane. The city was also affectionately known as 'The World', as it was said that anything one might desire could be had in the 'Towers', leaving no reason to travel elsewhere. The town was officially declared in 1877 with John McDonald being elected the town's first mayor.
A 20 head of stamps mill began ore crushing operations on 16 July 1872. The Venus Battery continued to be used by small mine in the region until 1971. The unique site remains intact today, together with a cyanide treatment plant and assay office.
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