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Robert Towns Closeup
Robert Towns Closeup

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

A statue commemorates Robert Towns who helped bankroll much of the infrastructure along Queensland`s northern east coast in the 19th century, creating the foundations of today's northern economy.

The statue has caused some controversy and in 2013 South Sea Islander, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people gathered in Townsville to protest veneration of a man they consider a ‘blackbirder and a slave trader’.

Captain Robert Towns, 1863 entrepreneur, brought the first New Hebrideans to Queensland for work on his cotton plantation in the Logan district. One of his skippers was accused of kidnapping and some recruiters dispensed with niceties and simply hauled men on board. Queensland veered dangerously close to slavery in the late 1860s and early 1870s when "recruiters" ranged the South Seas in search of Kanakas (Hawaiian for "men") to work the state`s sugar and cotton plantations. In the end, it was Federation that brought the Kanaka era to a close although Kanakas would continue to toil on Queensland plantations until 1907.


Address:Ogden Street, Townsville, 4810
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.260332
Long: 146.817666
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Jane Hawkins


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 18th May, 2005
Front Inscription
       Robert Towns
This commemorative statue in bronze of
Robert Towns was initiated and funded by 
Townsville CBD Promotions, designed and created
by artist Jane Hawkins in 2004 and 
unveiled by Councilor Jack Wilson on 18 May, 2005. 

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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