Townsville considers itself the capital of north Queensland. The name isn’t redundant; the town was named after Robert Towns, who provided the money to establish a new settlement in north Queensland. He spent a grand total of three days here in 1866 according to wikipedia. James Morrell is more interesting. He was shipwrecked in 1846 and lived with the Bindal in the area for 17 years before being discovered by other Europeans. If you want more details,

Cruise ships come here for  the koala sanctuary, a Sealife reef aquarium, Magnetic Island, and a world heritage rain forest, purported to be the world’s oldest. The sanctuary and aquarium are very similar to others we have done very recently. The Magnetic Island and rain forest tours were too physically demanding for us to attempt. There are only so many hills, steps, and boats I can ask Doré to climb up, over, or into.

There was no Lord of Magnets ever involved with the Magnetic Island; it is called that because, according to Captain Cook’s log, his compass did behaved oddly on the island. After years of scientific investigation, the consensus seems to be his compass was broken or he was “under the weather.” But the name stuck.

Despite all that, we spent the day strolling around the central business district; because this was Sunday, many things were closed but there was a Sunday Market that was a combination Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair. And we sat in the main plaza listening to music. Doré spent more time with the Market and Ron more time with the music. And studying a local newspaper.

Today’s headlines:

The North Queensland Cowboys open their season tonight and are expected to contend for the league title this year. Anyone not wearing a Cowboys’ jersey was from our ship. If you have to ask what league the Cowboys are in, you’re not from around here. I didn’t ask.

There is a major push, based on the full page ads in the paper, to build the Cowboys a “state-of-the-art”, 25,000 seat (expandable to 30,000), $250,000,000 stadium, which they richly deserve.

There is also a major effort to increase coal mining, which once was the economic driver for the region, but is facing resistance from the ‘anti-jobs’, ‘anti-growth’ environmentalists.

The Strand, which is the most popular beach close to the CBD, was closed part of yesterday (Saturday) afternoon because of 3.5 meter shark inside the ‘stinger’ nets.

And to end my summary of the day’s headlines, the Energy Secretary is being investigated for inappropriate use of a private email server, which could end with his resignation and end his promising career in the Labor Party. I needed to come half way around the world for this?

Curiously, all this was in a special edition of the Townsville Bulletin that they print for and give to arriving tourists. You have to wonder about their marketing. Based on the US news we haven’t managed to avoid, ‘good marketing’ is spewing whatever hyperbole you need to to get the deal closed, then shrug, take the money, and run. You have to admire the Townsvillians (I have no idea if that is the word they use.) for their forthrightness.

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