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Townsville Hospital and Health Service
About Palm Island

Palm Island is a small, tropical island with lush greenery, forested hills, and sandy beaches, located off the Townsville coast in North Queensland. Its main town has a village character and provides essential services to Palm Island’s predominantly Indigenous population.

Palm Islanders enjoy a laid-back lifestyle, well suited to the island’s tropical climate.


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Working in Palm Island

In the Townsville Hospital and Health Service, we recognise that looking after people’s health involves occupations as diverse as food services staff, receptionists, security officers, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, to name but a few. Our workplaces are progressive, and our workforce grows with the opportunities presented by new challenges and change. Our staff value their collegial relationships, career opportunities, their satisfying work, and being part of an organisation that strives for excellence.

As an employee on ‘Palm’, you will be contributing to health service provision in an area with unique needs. The Australian government has signalled a need to “close the gap”, a gap that exists in health standards between Aboriginal (and Torres Strait Islander) peoples and other populations. Since Palm Island is almost exclusively populated by Aboriginal peoples, every health service employee plays an important role in making a real difference there. Staff members contribute not only through using their health service expertise but also their cultural capability.

Palm Island’s integrated, multi-disciplinary ‘Joyce Palmer Health Service’, completed in 2000, combines a 15 bed acute care ward with a dialysis unit, allied health services, specialist services, and community health services. Acute care services at the Joyce Palmer Health Service include emergency, medical, outpatient clinics,
basic radiology, pathology sample collection, obstetric management and
specialist referrals.

The facility also provides visiting specialist clinics, including Ear-Nose-Throat, gastroenterology, gynaecology, medical, ophthalmology, paediatrics, child and youth psychiatry, spinal, dental care, and sexual health. Other services include
x-ray, Queensland Ambulance Service, pharmacy, dentist, child health,
mental health, sexual health, and an antenatal program as well as the specialist clinics.

Allied health clinics include physiotherapy, audiology, paediatric assessment team, podiatry, diabetes management, optometry, mammography, sonography, renal nursing and nutrition.

The hospital cares for all non-critically ill patients. Critical patients are stabilised
and transferred to The Townsville Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctors Service
or the Emergency Management Queensland with a retrieval team. 4 doctors work
full time and are on call for emergencies after hours.

Living on Palm Island

Palm Island is a very young and growing community, with the majority of residents under the age of 35 years. On this island you are likely to commute to work on foot, living in walking distance from its ‘hospital’, the Joyce Palmer Health Service. There is little traffic, and the rainforest encroaches on the town’s fringes. 2 groups of Indigenous peoples live on ‘Palm’: the Manbarra people who are the traditional owners and the Bwgcolman people, a mixture of peoples who relocated here following the destruction of their settlement on the Hull River by a cyclone.

Average daytime temperatures on Palm Island vary between 23°C and 30°C, with mild nights ranging on average between 18°C and 25°C. The Island receives a little under 1,000mm of rain each year. Thunderstorms occur during the wet season, but around 280 days of dry weather more than compensate for this.

Palm Island has its own schools, general store, service station, butcher, post office, and youth centre. The island is quite small hence its infrastructure and facilities are limited. Locals take regular trips to the mainland, to take advantage of shopping and entertainment opportunities in nearby Townsville.

Governed by the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council, the community is subject to laws that restrict the possession of alcohol. Details regarding these restrictions can be found on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Services website,
Department of Communities.


Local must see!

Palm Island is well known for its fresh and exotic seafood. Cray fish caught in the azure surrounding waters are of substantial size. Local Indigenous residents are permitted to catch and eat turtles and dugongs in addition to the more ubiquitous giant travelly, snapper, beche de mer and clams.


Palm Island beachPalm Island beachServices
  • Bwgcolman Community School (Preparatory Year followed by Year 1 to Year 12), special education
  • Bwgcolman Community Library
  • Daily airline services between Townsville and Palm Island
  • Ferry service to Townsville (4 days per week)
  • Emergency services
  • Palm Island Community Youth Centre
  • Police station
  • General store
  • Service station
  • Butcher
  • Palm Island Hotel and coffee shop
  • Post Office
  • Catholic and Anglican churches
Diving at Palm IslandDiving at Palm IslandSporting & Recreation
  • Watersports - fishing, snorkelling, boating, swimming
  • Basketball, volley ball and other ball sports
  • Cricket, Boxing
  • Aerobics, dancing, drumming
  • Blue light discos
Palm Island hospitalPalm Island hospitalQueensland Health facility address
Physical Address:
Beach Road PALM ISLAND QLD 4816
Postal Address:
c/-Post Office PALM ISLAND QLD 4816
General Phone:
+61 7 4752 5100
General Fax:
+61 7 4752 5291
Office Hours:
0800 to 1700
real-life-stories
Roianne West, DON, ATSI, Townsville
Roianne West DON, ATSI, Townsville "Working for Queensland Health has increased my career opportunities while being closer to family".
Andy Carter, ADON, Townsville
Andy Carter ADON, Townsville "I have learnt a huge amount in the short time I have been here. There are opportunities here to develop, learn and progress my career".
Heather Lee, ATSI Child Health, Townsville
Heather Lee ATSI Child Health, Townsville "Queensland Health has given me the opportunity to grow, especially when it comes to my personal development".
Amelia Covey, Physiotherapist, Charters Towers
Amelia Covey Physiotherapist, Charters Towers "I enjoy the variety and autonomy of workload that working in rural Queensland brings. I'm able to make a 'real' difference here".
Elderene Brostrom, Radiation Therapist, Townsville
Elderene Brostrom Radiation Therapist, Townsville "There was an immediate sense of belonging for my partner and me. There is a safe and relaxed feel here that we both like".
John Lumb, Social Worker, Townsville
John Lumb Social Worker, Townsville "The training and professional development opportunities are great and Townsville is a wonderful place to live".
clipboardFast Facts
  • 3,000 Population
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    Car access
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    Aerial access From Townsville
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    Ferry access From Townsville
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Last updated: 6 January 2017