Stuart, an industrial and residential suburb, is 10 km south-east of central Townsville.
Amongst its earliest European inhabitants were the inmates of Townsville's prison. Before then Stuart was the site of railway track-laying for the line from Townsville to Charters Towers. A school was opened in 1891. Two years later Townsville's jail at North Ward was replaced by a new facility at Stuart (then known as Stewarts Creek).
In 1902 the locality was named Ayr Junction when a tram-way was constructed to the Ayr cane farms. In 1911 the tram line was incorporated in the North Coast Railway line. The railway junction was named Stuart in 1939, after Townsville's first district surveyor, Clarendon Stuart (1833-1912). St Brigid's Catholic Church was opened in 1904. A fine vernacular timber church with Gothic features, it is listed on the Queensland heritage register.
The post office directory (1949) recorded Stuart as having the Stuart Hotel, a store, a brickworks, several graziers, the Stewart (sic) Creek penal settlement and an explosives magazine.
Stuart's postwar industrialisation included a cement works (closed 1993), a Swifts/Australian Meat Holdings meatworks, Queensland Rail maintenance depot, a copper refinery, and the Korean Sun Metals zinc refinery (2000). The refineries draw smelted metals from Mount Isa. There was also a drive-in cinema on Bruce Highway. The jail, now the Townsville Correctional Centre (1967) retains the heritage-registered gatehouse and observation tower dating from the 1890s. In 2013 the State government announced plans to close nine schools including Stuart State School.
Mount Stuart, Townsville's best viewing point, is several kilometres west, in the district of Murray.
Stuart's census populations have been: