We are lucky that Captain Townsend's time in Queensland, from arrival in 1866 to death in 1893, is neatly covered by the pages of the "Brisbane Courier". We are also fortunate that his landholdings were prominent enough to be used as landmarks in reports and real estate advertisements.
It appears that, apart from purchasing the land and buildings associated with what was then (and was later to be, to this day) the Brighton Hotel just north of Sandgate, he obtained a considerable parcel of land on the flood plain of the Caboolture River somewhere near what is now the Captain Whish Bridge and the town of Caboolture. We find him mentioned in reports of the activities of the Acclimatisation Society. Then, in 1872, he is active in promoting the establishment of the Queensland National Bank Limited, nominating as a director but eventually becoming one of the Auditors.
In 1873, he is appointed a member of the Marine Board, in the absence of Mr Raff, a post he resigned in November 1875. He is also, by that time, Justice of the Peace acting as a Magistrate. Also in that year, William Townsend is the treasurer of a committee seeking to establish a primary school at Sandgate. In 1875, we find a report that Captain Townsend is resigning from the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce for reasons of ill health. However, he was well enough in April of that year to be presenting a petition to the Colonial Treasurer in support of the construction of a wharf or jetty at Sandgate.
1876 sees William relinquishing his magisterial post in the Commission of Peace. He also begins to sell off the land associated with his Brighton residence, and then the residence itself. All then goes quiet until 1880, when we find Mr Townsend donating a lamp to the new Anglican Church in Sandgate, and nominating for a position of Councillor for the Borough of Sandgate. Not long after that, there is little mention of his name, so we must assume that this is when his increasing blindness began to constrain his public activities.
(When I have selected the appropriate newspaper clippings, I will continue and expand this sory.)