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Croydon trail

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Photo of a place on Croydon trail

At a glance, it is hard to believe that in the 1890s, this quiet country town supported the third largest population in North Queensland; behind Townsville and Charters Towers. Gold mining underpinned the local economy. The township’s much loved public buildings and the array of nearby mining sites attest to the wealth that once existed here.

Croydon Downs station was established in the early 1880s, by graziers William Browne and James and Walter Aldridge. These men discovered twenty payable gold reefs in October 1885 and the rush was on!

Croydon goldfield was proclaimed in 1886 and the township was surveyed the same year. The Croydon Divisional Board was created in 1887 and the eye-catching shire hall built in 1888. A separate municipal council for the township operated between 1892 and 1908.

The railway to the port of Normanton opened in 1891. This line now operates the ‘Gulflander’ train, offering trips twice weekly between Normanton and Croydon with the option of an overnight stay or same-day return by bus.

In 1896, half of the 134 mines on the goldfields were still operated by man-powered windlass and only 27 used steam-powered winding gear. Technical inefficiencies led to the demise of many operations. When the price of gold plummeted in the early 20th century, most miners walked off their claims and by 1925, mining had ceased completely. The Croydon goldfield now contains the largest surviving concentration of steam-driven mining plant in Queensland.

The Croydon Shire is proud of its heritage precinct comprising the police sergeant’s residence, police station, court house and shire hall, which are open to tourists year-round. The former hospital building was recently refurbished and renamed Matron Morrow Hall, honouring a much loved hospital matron. The main streets are lit with replica gas lights and have sandstone kerbing dating from the gold rush. The 1887 Club Hotel is a typical country pub and the Croydon General Store, which has traded since 1894, retains original shelving, legers, cash registers and other memorabilia from the town’s heyday.


Listing 11 places within this trail.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023