Gladstone, together with Boyne Island and Tannum Sands, had an estimated urban population of 49,248 at June 2015. This urban area covers 240.2 km2.
Gladstone is the largest settlement within and the seat of the Gladstone Regional Council, which formed in 2008 amalgamating three former local government areas. A very peaceful environment to live in considering the population and the types of recreations that are able to be accessed to whilst you are there such as their beaches, watermarks etc.
Before European settlement, the Gladstone region was home of the Toolooa (or Tulua), Meerooni and Baiali (or Byellee) Aboriginal tribes.
In May 1770, the HM Bark Endeavour, under the command of James Cook, sailed by the entrance to Gladstone Harbour under the cover of darkness. Matthew Flinders, during his 1801–1803 circumnavigation of Australia, became the first recorded European to sight the harbour in August 1802. He named the harbour Port Curtis, after Admiral Roger Curtis, a man who was of assistance to Flinders a year earlier at the Cape of Good Hope. John Oxley conducted further exploration of the harbour and surrounding countryside in November 1823. Oxley was dismissive of the region, noting the harbour was difficult to enter, the countryside was too dry, and the timber useless for construction purposes.
Nevertheless, in 1847 the British attempted to establish the new colony of North Australia at Port Curtis. Colonel George Barney was chosen to lead this experiment in colonisation and his expedition was eventful. On 25 January 1847, the Lord Auckland, carrying 87 soldiers and convicts, arrived off the southern entrance of Port Curtis and promptly ran aground on shoals off the southern tip of Facing Island. The settlers spent seven weeks on the island before being rescued by the supply ship Thomas Lowry and delivered the intended site of settlement, the region now known as Barney Point. On 30 January at a proclamation ceremony, Barney was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of the colony of North Australia. The convict settlement lasted barely two months and cost the Imperial government ₤15,000. A change of government in Britain ordered the withdrawal of Barney and the settlers. However, interest in the region remained.
By 1853, Francis MacCabe was surveying the site of a new town on the shores of Port Curtis under the protection of several detachments of Native Police. Maurice O'Connell was appointed government resident the following year, resulting in an influx of free settlers as land became available throughout the region. In 1863, the town became a Municipality with Richard Hetherington elected Gladstone's first mayor.
The fledgling town was named after the British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and has a 19th-century marble statue on display in its town museum.
Development of Gladstone was slow until 1893 when a meatworks was established at Parsons Point.
On 2 March 1949, a major cyclone hit Gladstone, doing extensive damage to the town.
In 1963, Queensland Alumina Limited established its alumina refinery on the site of the old meatworks. Gladstone's port facilities were expanded and the city launched into an era of industrial development and economic prosperity.
Gladstone has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Gladstone and Rockhampton are the two major cities in the Central Queensland region. In the sister city program, Gladstone is twinned with the Japanese port of Saiki.
* — the historic center of the city and major business district
Gladstone experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification cfa) and is one of the northernmost places in Australia to have this classification. Extreme temperatures in Gladstone have ranged from 4.4 to 42.0 °C (39.9 to 107.6 °F). These temperatures were recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology. The temperature recording for the below table were performed at the following location - 23.8553°S 151.2628°E 75m AMSL
Gladstone's primary industries are mining-related. The Port of Gladstone is the fifth largest multi-commodity port in Australia and the world's fourth largest coal exporting terminal. The port consists of a number of wharves and terminal facilities. Boyne Wharf is used by the Boyne Island aluminium smelter and was opened in August 1982. The western harbour basin has been expanded, primarily to allow increased exports of liquified natural gas (LNG). Furthermore, in 2016, a plant was constructed on Curtis Island to produce and export LNG, a construction project that contributed heavily to city's population and housing boom. Major exports include coal, alumina, aluminium, cement products, sodium cyanide and ammonium nitrate. Each year 50 million tonnes of coal passes through the port, making up 70% of the total exports.
Gladstone harbor is within the World Heritage Area of the Great Barrier Reef and has historically supported a thriving seafood industry. Dredging in the harbor has led to high levels that pose a threat to seagrass beds and other marine life. In August 2011, a Fisheries Queensland spokesman said they received reports of fish with milky eyes. A spokesman from the Gladstone Fish Markets claimed that diseased fish were still being caught in large numbers in November 2011. Losses to the local seafood industry have been estimated at A$36 million a year.
Gladstone is also a tourism destination, with cruise ships regularly docking at the port.
Gladstone has several primary schools and high schools (including Gladstone West State School, Clinton State School and Gladstone State High School), including two main private schools: St Johns and St Stevens and two university campuses, Central Queensland University. Gladstone was also formerly home to CQIT (TAFE) Gladstone Campus, before it combined with Central Queensland University, becoming the Gladstone City Campus.
Gladstone has direct access to Heron Island, Wilson Island, Curtis Island and other islands from the marina and local airstrips.
Boyne Island and Tannum Sands have grown in popularity because of their beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. The Millennium Esplanade is a big attraction where there are lots of shelters, barbecues and walking paths, and long stretches of beach. Boyne Island and Tannum Sands are not part of the Gladstone township but are part of the Gladstone region and formerly part of the Calliope Shire.
A little further afield (25 km south of Gladstone) is Lake Awoonga. The recreation area has free barbecues, swimming, landscaped walking trails, as well as a caravan park. The lake has been stocked with several fish species since 1996, and over 2 million barramundi have been released. In addition to the fishing, Lake Awoonga has many natural attractions, especially the wildlife, with more than 225 species of birds (or over 27% of Australia's bird species) found in the region. Lake Awoonga is also the primary source of Gladstone's water supply. Awoonga dam is not part of the Gladstone township but is part of the Gladstone region and formerly part of the Calliope Shire.
Gladstone is located within the federal electoral division of Flynn, a marginal seat currently held by the Liberal National Party of Queensland's Ken O'Dowd in Federal elections, and the state electoral district of Gladstone, held by the ALP's Glenn Butcher.
The Dawson Highway originates in Gladstone, and it runs westwards for approximately 400 km (250 mi) to Springsure.
Gladstone is a major stop on the North Coast railway line, with long-distance passenger trains operated by QR Traveltrain stopping in the area. Gladstone is also the transshipping point for export coal from the Moura and Blackwater coal basins and is the largest coal export port in The Southern Hemisphere. Currently, coal trains of up to 1.7 kilometers in length and 10,600 tonnes gross weight are run by rail operators Aurizon and Pacific National to unload at coal terminals at Barney Point, Clinton, and Yarwun. Domestic coal is also railed to the Gladstone Power Station and the Queensland Alumina Limited refinery. An extensive rail facility is located at Callemondah to support these operations.
Gladstone was also a major terminus for rail freight and bulk fuel, with extensive marshaling yards at Gladstone, South Gladstone, and Auckland Point. As is the case in much of Queensland this traffic, declining from the 1990s, has now ceased with goods carried by road.
Gladstone Airport is located in the western suburbs of Gladstone about 6 km (3.7 mi) (8 minute drive) from the centre of the city.
The main provider of scheduled passenger air services has been Qantaslink, using mostly Boeing 717 aircraft though Flight West Airlines and Ansett also previously offered service. Strategic Airlines briefly offered services in 2011 and Virgin Australia commenced flights in October 2011 and now offers up to 6 return flights a day to Brisbane mostly on ATR 72 aircraft with Embraer 190 and Boeing 737 also a regular appearance in the schedule. The service was offered twice daily, in 36 seat Embraer 135LR jets but ceased in February 2015.
In May 2009, a $65 million upgrades to the airport and nearby area was undertaken, which reached completion in 2011.
The Port of Gladstone is Queensland's largest multi-commodity port and the fifth largest multi-commodity port in Australia. It is the world's fourth largest coal exporting terminal.
Gladstone's daily newspaper is The Observer, which is owned by APN News & Media and is issued each morning from Monday to Saturday. Gladstone also has a free weekly independent community newspaper called Gladstone News Weekly.
4CC is Gladstone's local AM commercial radio station, owned by Grant Broadcasters. 4CC has one full-time announcer based in Gladstone to present the station's local breakfast show. The station broadcasts to Central Queensland on four separate frequencies via three AM transmitters in Gladstone, Biloela and Rockhampton, and a FM translator in Agnes Water on the Discovery Coast.
Hit Central Queensland is Gladstone's local FM commercial radio station, owned by Southern Cross Austereo. Hot FM has two full-time announcers based in Gladstone to present the station's flagship weekday breakfast program, which is also broadcast to Rockhampton and Emerald.
Gladstone also receives radio stations that carry local programming from Rockhampton including commercial radio stations Triple M Central Queensland and 4RO. Triple M broadcasts on a separate FM frequency in Gladstone.
ABC Capricornia also broadcasts into Gladstone from Rockhampton, using a separate FM frequency. Until November 2014, ABC Capricornia maintained a local news bureau in Gladstone where a local journalist was based to cover the Gladstone region. Some local news bulletins on ABC Capricornia were also broadcast live from Gladstone. However, in what was a controversial decision, the ABC's Gladstone office was permanently closed in late 2014 as a cost-cutting measure following the Federal Government's decision to withdraw $254 million in funding to the ABC.
91.9 Fresh FM is Gladstone's local community radio radio station, which has a Christian radio format.
WIN Television, Seven Queensland, Southern Cross Ten, ABC and SBS stations are all able to be received in Gladstone.
The Central Queensland editions of WIN News and Seven Local News, both regularly feature news content directly relating to the Gladstone region. Seven Queensland employ a journalist and camera operator in Gladstone, while WIN Television dispatch a news crew from Rockhampton to cover news stories in Gladstone.
The weekly 'What's On' segment on Seven Local News is also presented from Gladstone.