Battle of Waterloo

One of the most famous and powerful historical objects from the battle, this French cuirass, a breastplate worn as body armour by French cavalry, was holed by a cannonball that smashed through the unlucky soldier’s chest. The Waterloo campaign was the first occasion that British troops found themselves face to face with Napoleon’s armoured cavalry, whose cuirasses and metal helmets made them a daunting foe.

The armour belonged to 23-year-old trooper François-Antoine Fauveau – but there is a twist to the tale. Family legend has it that when his call-up papers arrived, François-Antoine was on the point of getting married, so his brother joined up, and died, in his place. Whoever was wearing it on 18 June 1815, this cuirass serves to emphasise the brutality of Napoleonic warfare at a most personal level.

Myths & Legends

Townsville has long been a place of great research and study. Today Townsville's James Cook University is one of the world leaders of tropical studies. It is Myth that the Ross River virus started in Townsville;

The first outbreak of Ross River Fever was in 1928 in the Hay and Narrandera region in New South Wales, Australia. The virus was first isolated in 1959 from a mosquito trapped along the Ross River in Townsville, Queensland. Since then, outbreaks have occurred in all Australian states, including Tasmania, and metropolitan areas. The largest outbreak occurred in 1979–1980 in the Western Pacific, and affected more than 60,000 people. Most notifications are from Queensland, tropical Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Geographical risk factors include areas of higher rainfall and higher maximal tides.  Other common areas for contracting the virus outside of the tropics are the townships along the River Murray that divides NSW and Victoria. Backwaters and Lagoons are breeding grounds for mosquitos. The virus is not contagious and is spread only by mosquitoes. The main reservoir hosts are kangaroos and wallabies, although horses, possums and possibly birds and flying foxes play a role. Over 30 species have been implicated as possible vectors. Symptoms of the disease may vary widely in severity, but major indicators are arthralgia, arthritis, fever, and rash. A blood test is the only way to confirm a case of Ross River Fever. There is currently no vaccine available.

Keith and Lin Teaching in Australia in 1960's (just another tour story)

 Keith & Lin were up here near Townsville, teaching at Giru back in the early days when they first started out as teachers. They explained how it was for teachers and students back in the 1950 & 1960's and what it was like for some of those more remote schools that did not have the resources that the larger schools and population centre's had. Keith taught wood & metal work skills and Lin home economics cooking & sewing etc. I never realised that this was part of the curriculum of those times; the remote schools did not have the necessary teaching facilities. I could imagine that the expense of building such facilities for such a small number of students located across Country Queensland could not be justified. But that won't stop us - in steps Australia's can do attitude of those times. The Queensland Government purpose built rail carriages, so they could provide the facilities at these remote locations, needless to say they were not the most ideal living and teaching arrangements by today’s standards. Keith would have his admin list to action before they turned up at any given location. He would order ahead of their arrival the stores, rations and equipment they would need for their stay at each location, which was normally around 6 to 7 weeks. While other schools with the facilities would learn over the period of a year or 2. The remote schools got there opportunity to learn the skills in a consolidated, intensive 6 week period. When Keith and Lin were in Town, that’s what the students did every day all day. They would park the carriage down a siding location, of the main line and children would turn up each and every day for Keith & Lin to teach them as much as they could. They would teach 7 schools in the one year, places like Saint Lawrence, Cabela, Mary bar and Giru. Keith would book the engine necessary to tow the carriages to the next location in advance sometimes allowing 2 days to get to the next location and set up. The schools knew they were coming 12 months in advance and they would have to cram the learning into those children so they could give up a 6 week period for Keith and Lin to do their thing. Their accommodation was also built into the carriage which Lin describes as the smallest bedroom she has ever known, picture how they live on a submarine and that’s close to the way these teachers lived. The carraiges were not air-conditioned, so the North Queensland heat along with the flies and mosquitos were an ongoing issue and fact of life you just learned to live with. Keith told me, he would fold up his bed in the morning and the whiteboard was pulled down in front of the folded up bed (ready to teach). Remembering that the stoves on the home economics carriage were wood stoves. So Keith being the gentlemen he was would reload the wood in the right area for Lin to use the next day. I said where did you eat, they said out of the home economics carriage of course. There was no special allowance to go eating out every night. Where were your toilets and showers I asked? Lin told me they did have their own water basin the smallest she has ever seen. The toilet was often the one at the railway station. I would have imagined not always that close bye, the shower they told me, was often at the local pub! I said what did you do for entertainment and one of the oldies on the Tour said each other, great laughter all around remembering this was where this married couple first met. Amazingly Lin had to give up teaching when she married Keith as the terms of employment for woman teachers back in those days, did not allow her to Marry Keith and continue teaching. They often did extra classes on weekends and after hours for the local adult population. Keith’s skills and machines were often put to work for doing little jobs that were needed around the town. He recalled that at one location all the children bar one were related to each other eyebrows and laughter around the table as he told that one. They both said the hours were long and they were kept very busy but they were great times. They said a big part of that were the people in those country towns and communities, they were fantastic people, on that point nothing much has changed in those rural communities of Australia.                                                  


Arno Grotjahn and the story behind his Winton Wall

In the town of Winton he become a local legend and tourist attraction for the wall he had built over a long period of time. The wall made of scrap parts, motorbikes, lawn mowers, sewing machines and anything else you can think off, became a place to look and mavel at - what could you find inbedded in Arno's wall. In later life Arno chose Winton to escape the world and to live out his twilight years. But the man himself had lived an interesting life, German by birth, he emigrated to Australia in 1965 and went opal mining, before moving into Winton. He had been shot in the chest when fighting for the French Foreign Legion in Vietnam 1948 - 52. He was a big man and had done time in prison for bashing a French Officer. He recieved a monthly pension from the French Goverment (for Legion service) until the day he died. He had met Adolf Hitler as a boy in German his father had worked at the German shipyards during the war and during a visit to the the shipyards by Hitler. Young Arno saw Him approach - he said he I gave him the Nazi salute and said Heil-Hitler, Arno recalls that Hitler returned the salute. Arno was no angel many of his views were not always main stream but Arno was an individual that walked his own path and those type of individuals give character and interest to life itself. I am sure his wall will continue to give much enjoyment to those that visit Winton                 

Our city has a story to tell


If you are reading this then you have discovered our new website. 

To briefly explain our journey thus far, Townsville Military Tours started operating in November 2013 with one military tour product. A year later we added our second product, a scenic tour and changed our name to Townsville Scenic and Military Tours. The learning curve in those first two years was steep. However what we did have was an open mind, open ears and lots of enthusiasm for the tourism industry.

This industry is one that requires multiple skill sets in order to run a successful business. Knowing our limitations, we always knew we would need help from other people to make the business work. No one individual could hope to have all the skills that are necessary. I remember attending a conference where one of the guest speakers was John Anderson, the founder of Contiki Tours.  I remember him saying “seek out good people and surround yourself with those that have the skill sets required for your business to grow”. Well this website and the total rebranding of our business to Tour Townsville at the end of our third year of operation is a direct result of listening to and believing in that advice. 

Meanwhile we have been busy developing new tour products that are informative, entertaining and unique experiences. Our new City Lights Tour is a combination of activities including a visit to a local Art Gallery to enjoy a selection of wine and cheese and the opportunity to peruse local Art by an award winning Artist.  Followed by a drive to the top of Castle Hill to see the whole of Townsville at night and a divine meal at a local restaurant right on the bank of the Ross River providing scenic views of the city lights. We also have another tour lined up for release early next year.

While we still have a long way to go, looking back on how much has been achieved in three years from start up, it gives me faith and confidence we are on the right track. Our intent for the tours is to remain small, personalised and exclusive. It is important for us that we offer great value and experiences that are as unique as Townsville itself. To our past customers that continue to support us through word of mouth, thank you so much. We hope to see you on one of our new tour products next time you are in Townsville!

Our city has a story to tell