PASSING OF TIME: Among the figures from 1988, a breakdown of residents' age shows us Gladstone has an ageing population.
PASSING OF TIME: Among the figures from 1988, a breakdown of residents' age shows us Gladstone has an ageing population. The Observer Archives

Gladstone then and now, three decades of difference revealed

CABINET documents from 1988 are shining a light on the climate and demographics of Gladstone 31 years ago.

The information comes from a document prepared by company Max Winders and Associates as part of its plans to erect a sodium cyanide manufacturing plant in the city.

According to the document, in 1986 Gladstone had a population of 22,792 - compared to 33,940 last year.

Back then 37.4 per cent of residents were below age 20, and 35 per cent were between age 20 and 39.

According to 2016 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 29 per cent of residents in the greater region are currently below age 20, and 26.5 per cent are between age 20 and 39.

This comparison reveals an ageing population.

Regarding employment in 1988, one-fifth of the city's labour force worked in manufacturing industries.

This remains unchanged as Population Australia's most recent figures showed just over one-fifth of residents today are also technicians and tradespeople.

However, the unemployment rate has increased by almost 3 per cent, and as of last year's June quarter unemployed people in Gladstone made up 7.86 per cent of the population.

The region's climate has also changed.

More than three decades ago Gladstone received 944mm in average annual rainfall.

Bureau of Meteorology data recorded between 1994 and last year shows Gladstone now experiences 69.3mm less rain each year on average.

Moreover, January was the wettest month in Gladstone in 1988, but the wettest month now is February.

July has remained the coldest month over the past three decades, but the average annual minimum and maximum temperatures in July have gotten colder and hotter respectively.



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