In terms of heritage, Townsville is an important city with a uniquely Australian tropical character. The Townsville City Council, through the Heritage and Urban Planning Unit, recognises the city's character, identity and image is critically linked to its older buildings and seeks to encourage and assist owners of such buildings in restoring and sympathetically altering these historic buildings.
Despite the changes in the built environment, places reflecting the city's development and evolution as a provincial centre remain.
The Heritage and Urban Planning Unit also conducts a series of programs which aim to enrich the character of Townsville and the lives of its residents.
- Architectural Advisory Service
To encourage and assist building owners to restore and undertake sympathetic alterations to historic buildings the Council has established an Architectural Advisory Service of local architects administered through the Heritage and Urban Planning Unit and the Heritage Officer.
- Community Heritage Grants Program
The Community Heritage Grants Program aims to develop conservation strategies for places of significance, undertake conservation work to significant places, undertake research projects enlarging the body of knowledge about a particular topic of Townsville's history and results in publication, and undertake the conservation of artefacts held in a public collection. Click here for further grant information.
The Townsville and Thuringowa councils merged in 2008 to become one council under the title Townsville City Council. Prior to this amalgamation, both cities had a distinct but interconnected history.
Fact Sheets and Links
Heritage and Character Housing Information Guide
The Queensland Heritage Act 1992 and the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 require local governments to keep a register of Local Heritage Places either in the planning scheme or in a publicly accessible location. Townsville City Council currently administers over 1200 places of cultural heritage significance from the planning schemes of the former Townsville City, and City of Thuringowa councils. These places form the basis of council’s on-line, searchable Local Heritage Database.
Through its Heritage and Character Housing Information Guide the Heritage and Urban Planning Unit of Townsville City Council provides a community service to aid in the conservation of the city’s heritage places. The guide covers: conserving the Townsville house, tracing the history of your house, alterations and additions to your house, fences, gardens and verandahs.
Heritage and Character Housing Information Guide (2.54MB)
For information on Character Precincts and if your property is located in the Character Residential Zone, click here.
35 Alexandra Street
26 Cleveland Terrace
Dance North Building
(Former Townsville School of Arts)
97 Stagpole Street
Youth With A Mission (YWAM)
(Formally the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE and the former Townsville Technical College)
212-260 Stanley Street Townsville
Outside of south-east Queensland, Townsville has the largest number of properties of cultural heritage significance in the state. The Townsville City Council recognises that the city's character, identity and image is inherently linked to these properties and aims to conserve and protect our unique cultural heritage.
There are over 1200 properties of heritage significance listed in the City of Townsville. These properties are listed on the Local Heritage Database.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are properties listed on the Local Heritage Database?
Properties are listed on the Local Heritage Database to recognise the city's unique places of cultural heritage and to manage and protect Townsville's cultural heritage into the future and for future generations.
Most of Townsville's heritage properties were identified in an Urban Conservation Study conducted in 1993. Property owners and the community were encouraged to nominate places of cultural heritage significance. An assessment was then undertaken to determine which sites were culturally significant. The Local Heritage Database is based on this assessment.
Are there other heritage registers operating in Townsville?
There are four other heritage registers applicable to Townsville. These are:
The Queensland Heritage Register is a list of places of cultural heritage significance within Queensland. The register is maintained by the Queensland Government's Environmental Protection Agency.
The National Trust Register is a list of places identified by the National Trust of Australia. This register is compiled and managed by the state branches of the National Trust.
The Register of National Estate is a national inventory of places of natural, historic and indigenous heritage significance. It is assessed by the Australian Heritage Commission.
The Commonwealth Heritage List comprises of natural, indigenous and historic heritage places on Commonwealth lands and waters or under Australian Government control.
- Undertaking development to properties listed on the above registers may require separate approval from the relevant agencies.
- Please seek advice regarding the necessary processes.
- It is only the Local Heritage Database which is managed by the Townsville City Council.
What is the implication of a locally heritage listed item
Local Heritage Database properties are listed under Schedule 5 of the City Plan 2005 and are subject to the Cultural Heritage Features Overlay (CHFO) code. The purpose of the code is to achieve the following outcomes:
- Conserve and effectively manage places of cultural heritage significance in Townsville;
- Conserve and manage places of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage significance in a culturally appropriate way;
- To ensure that development on or adjoining a place of cultural heritage significance incorporates features which compliment rather than replicate the heritage place;
- Ensure that development does not jeopardise the aesthetic, architectural and/or historical values of the surrounding streetscape.
The CHFO code applies to all properties identified in Schedule 5 of the City Plan 2005, or adjacent to a property identified in Schedule 5. See brochure on this site for the definition of adjacent.
Am I restricted in what sort of work I can do to a heritage listed property?
A listing on the Local Heritage Database does not prohibit any future renovations, additions or alterations to a property. These works do not trigger the CHFO code.
The CHFO code is triggered for:
- Carrying out building work for the demolition of the property.
- Carrying out building work for removal of the property.
Do I need special approvals for work which triggers the CHFO Code?
If the proposed development triggers the CHFO code, then Town Planning approval must be sought.
If the CHFO code is triggered the proposed development is assessed according to a list of specific outcomes contained within the CHFO code. These outcomes consider the effect that the development will have to the heritage significance of the place and surrounding streetscape by examining features such as the scale, materials, finishes and colours proposed for the new development.
If my property is listed on Schedule 5, am I expected to restore my building to its original?
No. The CHFO code cannot force an owner to restore or maintain their property.
However, Council does offer incentives such as free architectural advice to owners or adjacent owners of properties listed on Schedule 5 who are interested in renovating or restoring their property. This widely-used service assists owners in designing sympathetic alterations and additions.
What services does the Council offer to owners of LHD listed properties?
To support owners of heritage properties the Townsville City Council provides the following services and incentives:
- Access to the council's Heritage Officers
- Free Heritage Information Kits
- Free Architectural Advice for property owners on or adjacent to a Heritage listed property.
- Free community Heritage Day.
How can I find out if a property is heritage listed?
The Local Heritage Database is accessible on-line at Council's Heritage Database.
How can I find out more information on the local heritage database and Townsville Heritage Listings?
To find out more information on Townsville heritage listings contact the Heritage and Urban Planning Unit.
For more information, please phone 1300 878 001 or contact the Heritage and Urban Planning Unit.