Queens Gardens, Townsville
Queens Gardens is a heritage-listed botanic garden at Paxton Street, North Ward, City of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Queens Gardens is located at the base of Castle Hill, near to both the city centre and The Strand beachside park. It has been called Townsville's finest park. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 14 August 2008. The gardens were formally established in 1870, and known at that time as the Botanical Gardens Reserve. They represented an acclimatisation garden, part of the colonial town's agricultural planning for both local food supply and development of farming industry. Initially 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of land was set aside for a variety of exotic species, including cocoa, African oil palms and mangoes. Some of the hoop pines and black beans (Castanospermum australe) planted at that time are still growing today and may be the oldest cultivated specimens in Australia. In the late nineteenth century this industrious garden began its transformation into a formal recreational park. This was briefly interrupted during World War II when Queens Gardens acted as a military base for 100,000 American soldiers. The gardens were extensively redesigned in 1959 by Mr. Alan Wilson (Superintendent of Parks) who also designed Townsville's arboretum, Anderson Gardens. Due to the needs of the growing city for central sporting grounds and residential development, the gardens are currently one tenth their original size.