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Townsville’s Flinders Street Wharves set to become iconic tourism hub

21 Feb 2024

Growing Future Tourism program recipient Flinders Street Wharves Marine Tourism Hub is set to transform into an iconic Townsville destination featuring unique floating function, bar and restaurant venue.

The Flinders Street Wharves Marine Tourism Hub will be an iconic tourist destination in Townsville, comprising commercial marina berths and a unique floating function, bar, and restaurant venue. As a key component of the extensive $30 million Flinders Street Wharves redevelopment, this project, located within the Townsville CBD, will rejuvenate the historic Burns Philp building into an integrated destination for dining and entertainment, including events, functions, concerts and marine tourism activities.

The Marine Tourism Hub will facilitate boat tours to the region’s world-class marine and cultural tourism and ecotourism sites, including Magnetic Island, the Palm Island group, the Museum of Underwater Art and the Great Barrier Reef.

The events venue, FLOAT, will be an upmarket ‘barefoot luxury’ bar and restaurant, the first in north Queensland. Enjoying the attractive Ross Creek vista, FLOAT will provide a youthful, tropical, and family-friendly environment for cocktails, tapas, and functions.

Thanks to funding from the $15 million Growing Future Tourism program - Round 1, construction on the Flinders Street Wharves Marine Tourism Hub will commence this year. We caught up with the team to learn more about this exciting new project for Townsville and North Queensland.

What is the historical significance of the Flinders Street Wharves building?

Townsville was founded upon the export of commodities via Ross Creek. The Flinders Street Wharves Project is a redevelopment of the iconic Burns Philp building, constructed in 1895 by the notable trading company Burns Philp & Co. It is the only the second masonry building in the new settlement.

Most recently a nightclub, the Burns Philp building is currently dilapidated and in need of regeneration. The Flinders Street Wharves Project will preserve the building’s heritage features while reinventing it as a waterfront entertainment venue for locals and visitors to the region.

What do you think the economic benefits will be of this new hub for the community and visitors to the region?

The Marine Tourism Hub will activate the Flinders Street ‘East End’ and complement Townsville City Council’s new waterfront boardwalk. It will enable locals and visitors to access all parts of Magnetic Island and other destinations directly from the CBD. The FLOAT functions, restaurant and bar venue will provide an exciting over-water experience, bolstering Townsville’s image as a liveable city and tourist destination.

Townsville Enterprise forecasts the Marine Tourism Hub will create 61 new direct and indirect jobs and generate over $24 million of annual economic activity*. It will promote an increase in overnight stays and visitor spend.

* Townsville Enterprise Economic Assessment, 11 September 2023

What are the long-term benefits of the project for Townsville?

The Marine Tourism Hub is a major investment and will employ locals, invest in local products and services, and promote the best of the state, in a uniquely tropical North Queensland way. The FLOAT bar and restaurant will revitalise the CBD’s waterfront and promote Townsville’s image as a liveable city and tourist destination.

How has the funding from the Department of Tourism and Sport assisted your business?

The Growing Future Tourism program will supercharge the development of the Marine Tourism Hub. It will facilitate new marine infrastructure, enabling third-party operators to offer new tourism products.

The program promotes the Queensland Government’s Towards Tourism 2032 objectives, particularly “enabling funding: targeted funding support to stimulate infrastructure, product and experience development”.