Desert Arrival at Mt Isa

Desert Hills and trees

In 2009 I accepted a teaching position at Cloncurry and went there by Aeroplane. These photos are taken from above as the small plane flew into Mt Isa. The desert is very beautiful.

Mount Isa  is a city in the Gulf Country region of QueenslandAustralia.[3] It came into existence because of the vast mineral deposits found in the area. Mount Isa Mines (MIM) is one of the most productive single mines in world history, based on combined production of leadsilvercopper and zinc.

In 1923, a lone prospector, John Campbell Miles, stumbled upon one of the world’s richest deposits of copper, silver and zinc during an expedition into the Northern Territory. When Miles inspected the yellow-black rocks in a nearby outcrop, they reminded him of the ore found in the Broken Hill mine that he had once worked at. Upon inspection these rocks were weighty and heavily mineralised. A sample sent away to the assayer in Cloncurry confirmed their value. Miles and four farmers staked out the first claims in the area. Taken with friend’s stories of the Mount Ida gold mines in Western Australia, Miles decided upon Mount Isa as the name for his new claim

Mount Isa, a mining town and the biggest population centre in north-west Queensland, is 820 km west of Townsville, 160 km from the Northern Territory border and 350 km south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is situated in an extensive mineral-rich region stretching from south of Cloncurry to west of Burketown. Unlike many other great mining towns, including Broken Hill and Charters Towers, Mount Isa is unlikely to run out of minerals to mine, having mastered the treatment of large volumes of lower grade ore.

A Cloncurry businessman, Douglas McGillivray, began to take out options to purchase individual mining leases which by 1925 enabled Mount Isa Mines to acquire most of the critical sites. In May 1929 the railway was extended from the old mining town of Duchess to Mount Isa, causing a five-fold population increase to about 3000 by Christmas. The Catholic church building was transported from Duchess in 1929. MIM built a town dam on Rifle Creek, started building well-designed miners’ houses, laid out sports facilities and roads and planned a tree-lined park. The locating of the railway station on the east side of the river persuaded many west side businesses to move to the new town, but within a year it was found that the company town was a better appointed settlement than the official east side town under the management of Cloncurry Shire. Mount Isa absorbed Barkly Tableland Shire in 1963 and was raised to city status in 1968. The Sunset and Pioneer housing areas were laid out between 1967 and 1971. Just as chain stores had established outlets in the 1950s, discount department stores and drive-in centres were opened in the 1970s. With the help of MIM the city opened a Civic Centre in 1974. Water supply was secured in the 1970s when the Lake Julius dam was built on the Leichhardt River, 100 km north of Mount Isa. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s Mount Isa’s population went from 8000 to 25,000; in the next 25 years the figure slipped back to 21,000.

Published by Ladymaggic

Artist, Traveller, Researcher and Writer, currently living on Macleay Island., where I photograph and share experiences and events around the Islands and Island Life until I am able to travel again. Travel photos and videos about many places in Australia‚Äč and the world


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