This arcade in Charters Towers is the site of the stock exchange that was created here during the gold rush.
Charters Towers does an amazing job preserving and presenting the historical places in the town. Everything is in pristine condition and the visitor’s office has volunteers there seven days a week.
The Stock Exchange Moves In
“It was a grand moment when the ‘change’ moved into the Arcade. The courtyard was the pulse of “The World’ — the most important place in town.”
Ghost of Joe Millican, Stock Exchange Secretary.
Before the Stock Exchange opened, all wheeling and dealing was done by mining agents scattered throughout the town. By the mid 1880s, agents had combined into an exchange on Mosman Street, where smartly dressed kerbside brokers bustled about drumming up business. Agents peddled shares in dubious mines and secretaries often fled town with the takings. To keep control over what had become a wild and speculative market, a Stock Exchange was formed in May 1890 and shifted into the impressive Royal Arcade.
Scams, rorts and skulduggery
“Some of the mines floated had no hope of success — the promoters could not have expected to strike a reef if they penetrated the earth to its centre.”
Ghost of Warden Selheim, mining official who lobbied for a Stock Exchange to curb growing corruption.
Such a chaotic and speculative market attracted many rogue promoters and opportunists. People eager to share a slice of the Towers’ riches often found they had snapped up shares of worthless claims or ‘wild cats’ as they were called. Money invesed to develop mines frequently lined shareholder pockets rather than flowing into capital improvement. The Stock Exchange floor was a place of high jubilation for many, but also a place of crippling disappointment.