Initially established to service the early pastoral industry Croydon became a major gold rush town out of pure luck. Gold was discovered on Croydon Downs Station and with the other North Queensland goldfields nearly depleted prospectors descended on the town en masse. At one time Croydon was the fourth largest settlement in the colony and boasted 6500 residents and reputedly 90 hotels, apparently most of them shanty's.
Today Croydon is home to around 300 residents and the town enjoys facilities such as a swimming pool, bowling green and golf course.
The Gulflander Railway was built in 1891 and travels through the savannah country to Normanton. In the 1890's it carried passengers, goods and the hard won gold. Today the rail stations have been renovated or reconstructed and the train carries tourists for an overnight round trip between Normanton and Croydon.
The architecture and ambience of the town create a direct link to the heady days of the boom times. The Croydon Courthouse is a fine example of North Queensland civic architecture while the Croydon General Store has been trading since 1894. Other attractions of note around town are the mining museum, shire hall, cemetery, police precinct and the old hospital while on the road to Lake Belmore is the recently discovered site of a Chinese temple. Chinese immigrants were plentiful on the goldfields and played an important, although ignored role in colonial life.
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