Friday, September 12, 2014

Gladstone

I think of Gladstone as an industrial city but it has a lot more going for it than an excellent harbour, together with many of the services and raw materials needed by industry.  It sits at the south end of the Great Barrier Reef and is gateway to several picturesque islands and reefs, including Heron and Lady Musgrave.  The region is famous for its fishing and crabbing.

 
I think of the region as on the tropical side of sub tropical but, to be more precise, it has a tropical savannah climate.  This classification needs to have an average temperature over 18C degrees (64.4) for the whole year and a prominent dry season where the driest months have less than sixty millimetres (2.4 inches) of rain.  Gladstone has an average maximum temperature around 27C (80.6) degrees, with an average of 880mm (34.6 inches) of rain a year.  Sounds ideal to me!

 

When Captain Cook first came along in 1770 there were a few aboriginal tribes in the area.  The first white settlers didn't arrive until 1847 and they appear to have been about 200 convicts.  Free settlers arrived in 1854.

 

I first visited in 1966 when it had a meatworks, a relatively small port trade  and a population of around 6,000.  My new husband and I called in there on our honeymoon to visit a former workmate of mine and I was offered a job at the alumina bauxite refinery that was being built at the time.  There was no job for my husband otherwise our life may have been quite different.  Anyway, that refinery was the catalyst for modern industrial growth which has seen the district population grow five-fold since then. 


The industrial progress of the Gladstone area represents one of Australia's development success stories. Today, the area is certainly the land of the giants, with the world's largest alumina plant, the State's largest power station, the State's busiest port and Australia's largest aluminium smelter, the world's fourth largest coal exporting terminal.

I've heard Gladstone referred to as the grain port of Central Queensland but grain doesn't seem to compare with the major exports of coal, alumina, aluminium, cement products, Sodium Cyanide and Ammonium Nitrate. I had to dig a bit to find out about the calcite that my brother pointed out to me.  I had never heard of it yet it is one of the most common minerals on earth.  Shows how little I know!  It's a high quality limestone which, when crushed, is a pure white product.  It did look very pretty sitting beside the water.  It is stockpiled at Point Auckland (shades of home) for final shipment to Geelong where it is used as a filler in plastics, paper glossing and tooth paste.  You won't catch me swallowing the tooth paste again!  I still don't know where it is mined.

6 comments:

  1. Looks like a lovely, warm place. I envy your warm temperatures as we are heading into fall and much cooler weather. With all the industry there must be a prosperous economy.

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  2. Hello Pauline,

    Thanks for the bit of history. If you read what is used in our food products as well as products like cement you would instantly want to grow everything yourself.I would love to have that sort of rainfall as a average.

    Have a great weekend.
    Bev.

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  3. Another interesting look round. Calcite won't hurt you unless it had lead in which much of the stuff mined in the UK used to have.

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  4. Really like the industrial feel in the first image. But the rest of them really transform the landscapes and cityscapes into a inviting vision.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  5. A busy place! It looks like a wonderful climate, too.

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  6. Not knowing where Gladstone was (in fact not having heard of it) I looked it up and was delighted to get a better idea of where towns I knew (Mackay and Rockhampton) were in relation to it but the I found Proserpine! So much is now falling into place.

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