It all began in 1876 when a meeting was held at the Queen’s Hotel “for the purpose of inaugurating a Pastoral and Agricultural Society”. This resulted in the formation of the Townsville Pastoral Agricultural and Industrial Association (TPA&IA), the body which still exists today, and which was originally chartered with the responsibility of “doing the utmost to further the production of primary products in North Queensland”.
The first year’s exhibition was split between the Townsville Botanical Gardens Reserve where agricultural and pastoral exhibits were presented for display, and the old School of Arts (later the site of the North Queensland Supreme Court), where industrial and horticultural exhibits were displayed.
Soon after its inception, the show was moved to a more appropriate single venue on over thirty acres of land at Townsville’s West End, the site of the present Showgrounds.
The Townsville Show has since been held in these grounds in late June and early July each year, with the exception of the forced suspension of a few years caused by the war effort diverting the community’s focus to matters of greater importance, and the need for the military to have the use of such facility.
The Townsville Showgrounds is located on the southern side of Castle Hill and adjacent to Ingham Road, approximately 5kms from the city centre. In use as a showground since 1882, the Townsville Showgrounds is integral to the important Queensland showground circuit that culminates in the annual Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland [RNA] Exhibition in Brisbane. It remains one of the longest-running showground facilities outside Brisbane and is one of North Queensland's premier showgrounds.
The Townsville Showgrounds provides an important venue for showcasing and facilitating the expansion of pastoral, agriculture and industrial production and innovation in North Queensland during the late nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century.