Welcome to Townsville

Trip Start Feb 06, 2012
Trip End Apr 16, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Townsville is just that --- a small town with a population of approximately 190,000 people and is considered the unofficial capital of North Queensland. It is Australia’s largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast and hoasts a significant number of governmental, community, and major business administrative offices for the northern half of the state.It is interesting that many houses & buildings are elevated on posts - this is for two reasons - first to protect their homes from any flooding that might occur and second is to keep the homes cooler with air flow underneath. Popular attractions include Palmetum, a Botanical Garden that houses many different species of palm trees; “The Strand” a long tropical beach and garden strip; Riverway, a riverfront park attraction; Reef HQ, a large tropical aquarium holding many of the Great Barrier Reef’s natural flora and fauna, and the Museum of Tropical Queensland which was built around a display of relics from the HMS Pandora, the British war ship (of  Pandora’s Box fame). Our short shore excursion took in all of these, the first three as drivebys in our coach and the last two with visits. The beach was beautiful. Swimming areas are screened off with nets to keep any unwanted visitors out like sharks or ‘stingers’ such as jelly fish. The museum was interesting. It stared with a very large butterfly collection amassed in the late 1800's by one of their residents and donated by his family in the 1960's. There was also a massive display of different types of sea coral - I didn't realize how many there were! The main attraction was the Pandora section. The HMS Pandora was the ship that had been sent out to capture and bring back the mutineers of the HMS Bounty (the famous Captain Bligh and Mr. Fletcher saga). She had accomplished her mission and the prisoners were shackled to the walls of the “box”, a large wooden structure serving as a "brig" that was on the bow of the ship. It is interesting to note that Christian Fletcher and a few others were not among those who were captured - they had actually made it to another nearby island and survived for many years after. The ship at some point ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and sunk somewhere close off the coast of Townsville.The prisoners had been released just before the sinking and seven of the ten survived the wreck. If anyone wants more info on this here is the website..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Pandora_(1779). The artifacts in the museum were quite interesting  and the people of Townsville are very proud to have them. 

As an aside here is something else FYI ---- Pandora's Box is an artifact in Greek Mythology  The "box" was actually a large jar  given to Pandora , which contained all the evils of the world. When Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item were released into the world. The one remaining item was Hope.Today, to open Pandora's box means to create evil that cannot be undone.

The aquarium was interesting --- smaller than the one we are quite used to but it did have the underwater tunnel that you can walk through to see all of the sea life.

The return to the ship took us through town where we saw some beautifully restored buildings and an interesting was towered with a mural painted on it.
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