Queens Gardens are situated in the suburb of North Ward on the
corner of Gregory and Paxton Street, 1.2 km north of the city
centre. Established in 1870, the site was originally part of an
Acclimatisation Garden, in which potential food and economic plants
were trialed during the era of colonisation. Today the gardens
are a lush green oasis set against the dramatic pink granite cliffs
of Castle Hill and offer a quiet cool retreat amidst the busy
residential commercial area in North Ward and is in close proximity
to The Strand.
The history of Queens Gardens is almost as interesting as the
magnificent collection of unique and unusual plant specimens which
grow there today.
The gardens were established in 1870 to trial potential food
plants for the settlement.
More than 40 ha of land was set aside by the council of the day
and a variety of exotic species, including cocoa, African oil
palms and mangoes, were planted.
Some of the hoop pines and black beans planted at that time are
still growing today and may be the oldest cultivated specimens
Today, Queens Gardens is a priceless asset to Townsville, offering
a cool, green setting close to the centre of Australia's largest
Townsville residents use its lush gardens for leisure and recreation,
while the City Council and community groups utilise its green
splendour to stage a variety of special events.
Queens Gardens Aerial
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Covering just over four hectares, Queens Gardens occupies a gently
sloping, almost square site at the base of Castle Hill. The natural
soils are derived from granodiorite, the predominant rock of Castle
Hill; shallow clays have developed in the lower portion of the
site. The Gardens are divided somewhat formally into quadrants
with a central fountain. Areas have been set aside for a children's
playground and picnics. Special areas include the Isabel Phillips
Rose Garden, the Herb Society's garden, the annual garden beds,
the mazes and the Black-bean (Castanospermum australe) avenue.
The Botanical Gardens Reserve, of which Queens Gardens is but
a portion, was proclaimed on the 14th June 1870. By the end of
the nineteenth century, a network of botanical gardens had been
established across the Commonwealth in response to European enthusiasm
for botany as a science with educational, economic and ornamental
Originally, 100acres (40.5ha) were reserved for the purpose
of a Botanical Garden in Townsville. However, the size of the
site and proximity to the city centre resulted in the exorcising
of land. Queens Gardens now covers around 10 acres (4ha).
The gardens’ formative years were difficult but gradually
planting and landscaping improved and by 1894 the gardens were
involved in propagation, experimentation and exchange, thereby
contributing to the network of botanical gardens throughout the
Some of the earliest recorded exotic fruit plantings included
an acre of grape vines, along with cocoa nut trees (1896), coffee
(1889), breadfruit (1899) and mangoes. Likewise, timber species
planted included mahogany (1887), hoop pine (1892) and red cedar
Initially the gardens focussed on the botanical function, however
the late nineteenth century saw the introduction of the popular
Paradise style, which gave the gardens a pleasure ground image.
Queens Gardens became a military base for approximately 100
000 American soldiers during World War II.
In 1959, the Council employed Landscape Architect Alan Wilson,
to redesign the Gardens. Mr Wilson’s design, albeit a few
minor changes, remains today.
Queens Gardens proximity to the centre of town, shady setting
and Victorian charm entices many visitors to enjoy the gardens
for leisure and recreation.
Queens Gardens c.1890
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Queens Gardens c.1895
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Queens Gardens c.1916
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The Plant Collection
The plant collection in Queens Gardens features many unique and
unusual species. Emphasis has been placed on ornamental plants
with either colourful, attractive foliage or flowers. A rainforest
area, featuring a canopy of Banyans (Ficus bengalensis), Candle-nut
(Aleurites moluccana) and with an understorey of small palms,
aroids and bromeliads, is now well established along the Gregory
Street boundary. A palm collection with numerous mature
plants is a feature toward the centre of the garden.
An avenue of spectacular sealing wax or lipstick palms (Cyrtostachys
renda), with their bright red leaf bases, large and mature specimens
of Pandanus, and a growing collection of Heliconias add tremendous
interest to a stroll through the gardens. In late winter to early
summer, the annual garden beds are a mass of intense and vibrant
Visitors facilities include public conveniences and picnic tables.
A small aviary houses a collection of parrots, lorikeets
Herb Society of Townsville
Eco Fiesta (Annual)
to Get There
From the old Post Office in Flinders Street Mall, Queens Gardens
can be reached by travelling along Denham, Oxley and Eyre Streets
and turning left into Gregory Street. From the north, approach
is from Warburton Street then turning right into Gregory Street.
Parking is available in all the streets which bound the site.
Queens Gardens are open seven days a week between sunrise and
sunset all year.
For more information about Queens
Gardens contact Parks Services, Townsville City Council.
PARK BOOKINGS FOR PRIVATE EVENTS, CEREMONIES
AND/OR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION MUST BE MADE THROUGH THE TOWNSVILLE
CITY COUNCIL’S PARKS SERVICES DEPARTMENT ON 4727 8330.