Landmarks around Townsville are being lit up this week in the colours of the French tricolour as a gesture of welcome to the crew of the French naval ship FS Dixmude.
Our French visitors and residents will see seven landmarks illuminated in red, white and blue including the Wharton Reef Lighthouse, Victoria Bridge, George Roberts Bridge, Old Magistrates Courthouse, Flinders Square, Little Fletcher Bridge and Central Park Boardwalk.
Mayor Jenny Hill said the lighting up the city was a simple but important gesture to ensure the 800 visiting crew members on the FS Dixmude were met with a warm welcome.
“The defence, commercial and tourism links between Townsville and France, including its territories in the Pacific are important to promote, and we want the Dixmude’s crew to not just experience our great city but also to experience our North Queensland hospitality,” said Cr Hill.
“Only a few weeks ago Townsville hosted a delegation of French and New Caledonian visitors who have a strong interest in what Townsville has to offer with sustainable industries, and the visit by the Dixmude is another reminder of what’s possible in the future.”
The visit to Townsville by the FS Dixmude is part of the Mission Jeanne D’arc, a long-term annual operational deployment that includes cadets at the French Naval Academy.
During their goodwill visit to Townsville, the Dixmude’s crew will be training with members of the Lavarack Barracks’ 3 Brigade as well as attending a number of community engagements.
Along with other local dignitaries, Mayor Jenny Hill was hosted on board the Dixmude on Tuesday by the ship’s commander Emmanuel Mocard along with French Ambassador to Australia Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault.
“It was an honour to be invited on board and to meet the commander, ambassador and members of the crew and I hope we see them return with their families to visit Townsville sometime in the future,” said Cr Hill.
“Townsville boasts a Gross Regional Project of over $13 billion, is attracting significant investment and funding for emerging and traditional industries growth and was recently acknowledged in the top 10 most liveable cities in Australia.
“Opportunities like this are a way to promote the strength of our city and region not just as a defence hub, but also as a centre for investment and a popular tourism destination.”
The seven Townsville landmarks will be lit up in red, white and blue from Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 April when the Dixmude departs the Port. The Townsville sign beside Ross Creek is awaiting new and improved lights scheduled to arrive in May, so it won’t be illuminated this week.
Find out more about the Light Up Townsville initiative by visiting Council’s website.