Normanton was established in 1867 as a port on the Norman River and transport centre for the surrounding pastoral area. Normanton soon became the trading hub for the region with two shipping service a week to Brisbane and a railway line to the Croydon goldfield (opened 1891). With the Croydon gold rush in full swing Normanton boomed but the boom ended after the 1890's depression and drought and after Croydon's gold ran out. Completion of the Cloncurry-Townsville train line in 1907-08 diverted Cloncurry business and Normanton's boom was completely over. The town is now the centre of a cattle grazing region with substantial recreational and professional fishing activity. Tourism is an important element in Normanton's economy.