Rhys Dahl lives in Gladstone, Queensland, and can see the positives and negatives of living here.
Rhys Dahl lives in Gladstone, Queensland, and can see the positives and negatives of living here. Kara Irving

Teens have town name in common but not much else

THESE three teenage boys share something in common. They're from Gladstone, Australia, but live thousands of kilometres apart.

Jed Hennessy, 19, grew up in Gladstone, South Australia, Lucas Read hails from Gladstone, New South Wales, and Rhys Dahl, 19, is a born and bred Queenslander.

Rhys grew up on a large property at Miriam Vale, which is about an hour from Gladstone.

"The next person that lived near me was about a kilometre away," Rhys said.

Now he lives with three other guys in suburban Glen Eden, Gladstone, which is a seachange of some sorts.

Gladstone isn't just an industrial town in Queensland

Rhys made the move to town after he became sick of travelling more than an hour to work.

When he's not working as an apprentice fitter, Rhys can be seen playing football for the Seagulls A-grade team or partying in town.

"But we try and head back to Brisbane whenever we can," Rhys said. "There's not much to do in Gladstone."

The same can't be said for Jed and Lucas.

Unlike Rhys, who has the luxury of a healthy nightlife in his home town, Jed and Lucas have to travel at least an hour for a night on the town.

Nobody goes to the pub. The businesses are really struggling. Around 11% of the town's people work in education and 8% in agriculture

Northern Areas councillor Tim Zander said pub life hadn't taken off with the residents in Gladstone, South Australia.

"Nobody goes to the pub. The businesses are really struggling," Cr Zander said.

Located two hours north of Adelaide and one hour east of Port Pirie, Gladstone is renowned for its agriculture, education and sport.

"Around 11% of the town's people work in education and 8% in agriculture," Cr Zander said.

Similar to the industrial Queensland town, Port Pirie has worn controversy about pollution and its port.

A recent Macquarie University study found the town's lead smelter had been releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

But Gladstone, New South Wales, couldn't be further from mining and industry.

The sleepy retirement town houses 387 people and is about 12 minutes from the NSW coast.

Angela Davis-Smith, from Macleay Valley Coast Tourism Centre, said there were only eight people between the ages of 18 and 25 living in the town.

But resident Lucas Read, 18, tells me there are fewer.

"About three people my age live in town. The others live in surrounding towns," he said.

The main industries are farming, tourism and production.

Career options limited in Gladstone, South Australia 

HEART’S AT HOME: Jed Hennessy lives in Gladstone, South Australia.
HEART’S AT HOME: Jed Hennessy lives in Gladstone, South Australia. Contributed

FOR 19-year-old Jed Hennessy, the career options in Gladstone, SA, are quite limited.

"You either do a trade or go to uni (in Adelaide)," Jed said. "There's not a lot to do but play sport."

And Jed has taken that in his stride. 

Playing cricket, football and tennis, Jed spends most of his time outdoors.

During the day he works as a third-year apprentice builder while at night he retreats to the football club for a few beers.

"There's no night life either," he said. "There are a few pubs in town but we usually just stay on at the footy club for the night or we party in (Port) Pirie."

But with the party scene a $90 taxi ride away, Jed is content spending time with his mates in his home town.

In Gladstone there are no taxis or public transport. Even a trip to the doctor is about a 30-minute drive.

His friends live in six other small towns around Gladstone.

Jed's even heard of Queensland's answer to Happy Rock and is keen to forge a career in mining.

But for now he is happy to live at home and spend time with his mates in South Australia.

Waiting for a job in Gladstone, NSW

LUCAS Read is doing his HSC again. And not because he didn't pass. He is biding time until he can get a full-time job.

It's slim pickings for people living in the tourism town of Gladstone, NSW.

"It's quite hard to find a job here," the 19-year-old said. "You have to know the people really well ... or your father would have had to work there".

The SES volunteer is one of the three people aged between 18-25 in town.

Lucas is familiar with Gladstone, Queensland. 

QUIET TOWN: Lucas Read, 18, lives in Gladstone, NSW.
QUIET TOWN: Lucas Read, 18, lives in Gladstone, NSW. Contributed

He once started a Gladstone Buy and Sell Facebook page and Queenslanders joined in.

"Someone bought my motorbike and I said they had about 800km drive to get it," Lucas said.

About Gladstone:

Gladstone Qld:

  • Population: 59,644
  • Average cost of a three bedroom house: $499,000
  • Closest beach: 1.7km to Barney Point Beach
  • Pubs: Eight in city centre
  • McDonalds: 3

Gladstone, South Australia:

  • Population: 700
  • Average cost of three bedroom house: $145,000
  • Closest beach: 112km to Wallaroo
  • Pubs: 3
  • McDonalds: 0

Gladstone, NSW:

  • Population: 387
  • Average cost of three bedroom house: $262,000
  • Closest beach: 18.2km to Hat Head Beach
  • Pubs: 1
  • McDonalds: 0