West End, a residential suburb, is two km south-west of central Townsville and immediately south of Castle Hill. The suburb descends from the hilly slopes near Castle Hill to a plain in the south, where there were wetlands until the post World War II years.
West End cemetery, Townsville's first burial place, was the general cemetery from 1866 to 1902. It is next to the local primary school (Townsville West) opened in 1887. The 1880s was the decade when many of West End's enduring institutions and buildings were established: the Townsville showground (1882), a Methodist church in Ingham Road (c1886), St Mary's Catholic church (1888) and school (1888-1994) and the West End Hotel (1885) in Ingham Road at Jane Street. The first of the churches, St Peter's Anglican, was opened in 1863 and rebuilt in about 1964.
The area near St Mary's church has become a heritage site along with St Mary's convent, the West End Hotel, the relocated Currajong homestead (once the Mater Hospital, 1945-62, in Pimlico) and the cottage occupied by the left-wing writer, Jean Devanny, in the 1950s at 2 Castling Street. West End cemetery, the second Townsville West school (1939), the showground and an RAAF operations building (1942) in Green Street are listed on the Queensland heritage register.
As well as the backdrop of Castle Hill, West Enders have the showground, a park and lake west of the showground, and Cutheringa Park (early 1900s) in the north-west of the suburb. Access to central Townsville was constricted until the post World War II years when an escarpment was removed to unblock Sturt Street, and Woolcock Street was joined to Railway Estate across the Ross River. The wetland was joined to the river by a canal along Woolcock Street in the 1970s.
Until then, and for some years after, West End was classified as a working-class suburb. Property values later lifted, as have incomes which in 2006 were only a few dollars a week under the median for Townsville.
West End's census populations have been: