- Bowen, Queensland
Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Bowen
state = qld
caption = Bowen as seen from
Whitsunday Regional Council
postcode = 4805
pop = 7,484
maxtemp = 28.6
mintemp = 19.6
rainfall = 820.9
stategov = Whitsunday
fedgov = Dawson
dist1 = 1159
dir1 = NW
dist2 = 189
dir2 = NW
dist3 = 201
dir3 = SE
Bowen is a town on the eastern coast of
Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Bowen had a population of 7,484.Census 2006 AUS|id=UCL307800 |name=Bowen (Urban Centre/Locality)|accessdate=2008-04-07
Bowen is located on the north-east coast of
Australia, at exactly twenty degrees south of the equator. In fact, the twentieth parallel crosses the main street. Fact|date=April 2008 Bowen is halfway between Townsville and Mackay, and 1,130 kilometres by road from Brisbane.
Bowen sits on a square peninsula, with ocean to the north, east, and south. On the western side, where the peninsula connects with the mainland, the Don River's alluvial plain provides fertile soil that supports a prosperous farming industry.
Bowen is in the dry tropics. This means it has all the warm sunny weather of a tropical climate, but it is much dryer than one would expect for tropical beaches overlooking the
Great Barrier Reef.
latitude, the Trade Winds provide a pleasant breeze. The warmest month is January, with an average maximum temperature of 31 degrees Celsius(88 degrees Fahrenheit). The coolest month is July, with an average maximum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius(77 degrees Fahrenheit) and an average overnight minimum of 14 degrees Celsius(57 degrees Fahrenheit).
Bowen enjoys a diversified and prosperous economy based on agriculture, fishing, tourism, and mining. Bowen's unusually dry climate for a tropical location, plus its fertile alluvial soil, makes it the ideal place to grow a wide variety of small crops, including
tomatoes, rockmelons (i.e., cantaloupes), and capsicums (i.e., green peppers).Outside the alluvial plain, much of the Bowen Shire is used for beef cattle.
Just north of Bowen is the Abbot Point
coalloading port. Coal mined inland of Bowen in Collinsville and other towns in the Bowen Basin is brought by rail to a deepwater pier to be loaded on bulk carriers. Coal is exported mainly to Europeand Japan. Fact|date=June 2007
In 1944 Bowen elected a Communist,
Fred Paterson, to Queensland State Parliament. He was re-elected in 1947, but lost the seat in 1950 when the boundaries were changed to include Bowen in the seat of Whitsunday. In the recent Queensland council amalgamation elections, former Bowen Shire Mayor, Mike Brunker, was elected to lead the new Whitsunday Shire.
James Cooknamed Cape Gloucester on his voyage of exploration up the Australian coast in 1770. This "cape" turned out to be an island, and Gloucester Islanddominates the view from Bowen's eastern beaches. Behind the island is a bay that forms an excellent port, which the town came to be built around. This bay was eventually discovered in 1859 by Captain Henry Daniel Sinclair, in response to a reward offered by the colony of New South Walesfor finding a port somewhere north of Rockhampton. Fact|date=April 2008 Sinclair named Port Denison after the colonial governor of New South Wales.
Two years later, Sinclair led one group of settlers by sea, and George Elphinstone Dalrymple led another party overland from Rockhampton. They met on
11 April 1861at Port Denison and founded the town of Bowen on the next day, 12 April 1861. By this time, the separate colony of Queenslandhad been established, and the town was named after Queensland's first colonial governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen.
Two years later in
1863, the new settlers discovered a sailor, James Morril, who had been shipwrecked 17 years previously just to the north of Bowen. Morril made his home in the new town, and his grave is still to be seen in the Bowen cemetery.
The coral reefs around Bowen have several shipwrecks, including the
SS Gothenburgwhich sank in 1875with a loss of more than 100 lives. Numerous relics of Bowen's history, from the Aboriginal past onwards, are on display at the Bowen Historical Society's museum.
During World War 2 Bowen hosted an air force base, flying
PBY Catalinaflying boats to search for enemy ships and submarines.
. On the western half of Queens Beach and all of Kings Beach, it is permitted to walk a dog without a leash.
2006, it was announced that "Australia", directed by Baz Luhrmannand starring Nicole Kidmanand Hugh Jackman, will be filmed in Bowen. It is hoped that the production will provide a significant economic boost to the town and will employ many Bowen locals. [cite news|url=http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=170357|title=Luhrmann epic to be shot in Bowen|date= 2006-12-12|publisher=Nine MSN] [cite news|url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1925180.htm|title=Nicole, Hugh meet and greet 'Bowenwood' locals|date= 2007-05-17|publisher=ABC News Online]
Bowen boasts a cinema, the Summergarden Twin Theatre, The Denison Hotel, The Queens Beach Hotel, The Bowen Memorial Club, and The Grand View Hotel. It also offers four motels and seven caravan parks. There is also a golf course that overlooks Queens Beach.
Bowen hosts the Barrier Reef Institute of
Bowen has a sister city in
Japan, Oseto-cho in Nagasaki Prefecture.
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