Mount Isa

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For the Queensland electoral division, see Electoral district of Mount Isa.
Mount Isa
Queensland
Panorama of Mount Isa, Queensland.jpg
Mount Isa
Mount Isa is located in Queensland
Mount Isa
Mount Isa
Coordinates 20°44′0″S 139°30′0″E / 20.73333°S 139.50000°E / -20.73333; 139.50000Coordinates: 20°44′0″S 139°30′0″E / 20.73333°S 139.50000°E / -20.73333; 139.50000
Population 22,785 (June 2012 ERP)[1]
Established 1923
Postcode(s) 4825
Elevation 356 m (1,168 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
Mayor Tony McGrady
Location
LGA(s) City of Mount Isa
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
31.8 °C
89 °F
17.3 °C
63 °F
454.3 mm
17.9 in

Mount Isa is a city in the Gulf Country region of Queensland, Australia. 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 lead, silver, copper and zinc.[2]

With a population of 21,992 recorded at the 2011 census[3] and 33,200[4] in the surrounding district, Mount Isa is the administrative, commercial and industrial centre for the state's vast north-western region. Although situated in an arid area, the artificial Lake Moondarra[5] 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city on the Leichhardt River provides both drinking water and an area for watersports, birdwatching and recreation. Locals often refer to Mount Isa as "The Isa".[6]

History[edit]

The Attorney General of Queensland, John Mullan officially opened the railway line on 6 April 1929
Mount Isa State School, 1929
Township, ~1931
Smelter interior, 1932
Township, 1932
Main street, ~1936

The land around the present day city of Mount Isa was home to the Kalkadoon aboriginal tribe. The Kalkadoon tribe led a subsistence lifestyle on this land that the white settlers looked at as nothing but poor grazing land, with the odd mineral deposit. As settlers and prospectors pressed further into their lands the Kalkadoon tribe members set out on one of Australia's most successful guerrilla wars in a fight for their lands. Their success continued until at Battle Mountain in 1884, with what some historians have called a rush of blood, the tribe attacked a fortified position in large numbers and suffered terrible losses. The weakened state of the tribe made their land more vulnerable to the settlers and soon much of the land was lost. Armed patrols chasing the surviving tribe members and poor grazing lands for the settlers made times hard in the area over the following decades.

It is said that a lone prospector, John Campbell Miles, stumbled upon one of the world's richest deposits of copper, silver and zinc during his 1923 expedition into the Northern Territory, but many people do not know that he was taken to the deposits by a young aboriginal man by the name of Kabalulumana (for whom an Indigenous person's hostel in Mt. Isa is named[7]). When Miles inspected the yellow-black rocks in a nearby outcrop 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 Post Office opened on 1 August 1924.[8]

A location for the town's hospital was chosen in 1929, with a small building completed the following year.[9] In 1931, a larger structure was moved to the site from the closed mining town of Kuridala.[9]

Heritage listings[edit]

Mount Isa has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Governance[edit]

Mount Isa at local level is part of the City of Mount Isa, at state level is part of the electoral district of Mount Isa in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, and at federal level is part of the Division of Kennedy in the Australian House of Representatives. The mayor of Mount Isa, after the 2012 Election, is Tony McGrady. The Mount Isa City Council jurisdiction is one of the largest in the world in terms of area and takes in the border town of Camooweal, 188 kilometres (117 mi) to the north-west of Mount Isa and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the border of the Northern Territory.

Local industry and business[edit]

Mount Isa's industry is largely dependent on mining. Xstrata Plc operates the Mount Isa Mines lease adjacent to the city, which comprises the "Enterprise" underground copper mine, X41 underground copper mine, "Black Star Open Cut" silver-lead zinc mine, and metallurgical processing facilities. Silver-lead-zinc ore is also mined 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the north at Hilton from the "George Fisher" underground mine, and the adjoining "Handlebar Hill" open cut, which is trucked back to Mount Isa for processing.

Mount Isa is in the top two of the largest copper mining and smelting operations in the country.[18] Copper and lead are smelted on site, with copper anodes and zinc concentrate being transported 900 kilometres (560 mi) to the city and port of Townsville on the east coast. The lead ingots are transported to a refinery in Britain where the silver is extracted. The mine is the most significant landmark in the area, with the stack from the lead smelter (built 1978), standing 270 m tall, visible from all parts of the city and up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) out.[citation needed]

In 2008 a Queensland Health report found that more than 10% of children in Mount Isa had blood lead levels above World Health Organization recommendations. The mining operator Xstrata denied responsibility and stated that the town has naturally high levels of lead in the soil.[19]

Tourism[edit]

Underground hospital

Attractions include the Hard Times Mine at "Outback at Isa" and The Mount Isa Rodeo and Mardi Gras (held on the same weekend) has given Mount Isa the title of "Rodeo Capital of Australia". The occasion may well triple the city's population in these few days.[citation needed] A memorial has been made especially for the Rodeo, down Rodeo Drive; the sidewalks have special memorials embedded in the cement.

The burial place of John Campbell Miles, the founder of Mount Isa, on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Miles Street. His ashes are buried underneath a large statue where each panel represents a significant part of Mount Isa. Miles' ashes used to be watched over by a large clock where the statue now stands.

The World War II-era Mount Isa Underground Hospital is an historical building that has been registered on the Register of the National Estate and the Queensland Heritage Register. An air-raid shelter which could function as a hospital was a precautionary measure taken after Darwin was bombed in 1942.[9] Local miners excavated the site which remains today as the only underground health facility in Queensland which was built during World War II.[9]

Panorama of Lake Moondarra from lookout above Transport Bay. July 2014. Mount Isa, Queensland.

The Xstrata Mount Isa Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic is held annually, and after 2011 will also be followed by a Fishing, Camping and 4x4 Expo. The Fishing classic is the richest fresh water fishing event in Queensland.[20] Catching the tagged Barramundi fetches the greatest prize money.

Climate[edit]

Mount Isa experiences a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). The summer season is very hot with highly variable rainfall and humidity owing to the erratic influence of the monsoon. This can be almost non-existent in years like 1951/1952, where the only rain is from the occasional shower, or extremely intense as in 1973/1974 or 1999/2000, when as much as 1 metre (39 in) of rain may fall between November and March.

The "winter" season is very warm and almost completely dry with median monthly rainfalls from April to September below 2 millimetres (0.08 in), though nights can be quite cool and about once every two years a minimum below 0 °C (32 °F) has occurred. The lowest temperature recorded at Mount Isa is −2.9 °C (26.8 °F) on 7 July 1984 and the hottest is 45.9 °C (114.6 °F) on 29 January 1990.

Climate data for Mount Isa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.9
(114.6)
43.5
(110.3)
40.9
(105.6)
38.6
(101.5)
37.1
(98.8)
33.5
(92.3)
35.2
(95.4)
36.4
(97.5)
39.5
(103.1)
42.5
(108.5)
43.5
(110.3)
45.1
(113.2)
45.9
(114.6)
Average high °C (°F) 36.3
(97.3)
35.2
(95.4)
34.2
(93.6)
31.8
(89.2)
27.8
(82)
24.8
(76.6)
24.7
(76.5)
27.3
(81.1)
31.2
(88.2)
34.6
(94.3)
36.4
(97.5)
37.1
(98.8)
31.8
(89.2)
Average low °C (°F) 23.8
(74.8)
23.4
(74.1)
21.8
(71.2)
18.5
(65.3)
13.9
(57)
10.0
(50)
8.6
(47.5)
10.3
(50.5)
14.2
(57.6)
18.6
(65.5)
21.4
(70.5)
23.1
(73.6)
17.3
(63.1)
Record low °C (°F) 15.4
(59.7)
13.6
(56.5)
13.1
(55.6)
6.2
(43.2)
1.8
(35.2)
−1.3
(29.7)
−2.9
(26.8)
−1.1
(30)
1.0
(33.8)
6.1
(43)
10.3
(50.5)
13.4
(56.1)
−2.9
(26.8)
Rainfall mm (inches) 118.8
(4.677)
103.2
(4.063)
65.9
(2.594)
15.4
(0.606)
13.1
(0.516)
6.0
(0.236)
5.9
(0.232)
3.7
(0.146)
6.7
(0.264)
19.2
(0.756)
39.0
(1.535)
72.5
(2.854)
469.4
(18.479)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 10.2 9.3 6.0 2.3 1.8 1.0 1.0 0.9 1.7 3.4 5.5 7.7 50.8
 % humidity 35 38 32 27 29 28 25 20 18 18 22 27 27
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology[21]

Culture and sport[edit]

The local theatre group, the Mount Isa Theatrical Society, or MITS, often holds plays and musicals, at least once every few months or so.

Cricket, rugby league, rugby union, netball and tennis are the most common sports but shooting, dancing, hockey, squash, baseball and ten-pin bowling are also present. Mount Isa has a Go Kart Club[22] situated off Duchess Road on the southern side of town.

Mount Isa also has a cinema complex, situated in the inner city on Rodeo Drive, that contains three air-conditioned cinemas, a skate park/aquatic centre and a multi-purpose sporting complex for basketball and other indoor sports. Mount Isa's events complex, Buchanan Park, opened in May 2007, can hold up to 6,000 people and is used for special events such as concerts and expos. It is also the home of the city's annual show and rodeo.

In September 2008, plans were made to build a massive motor sports complex on the city's north-eastern outskirts. This complex was to include a drag-racing track, a BMX track and a mini-stadium that can seat 2,000 people.

The city is known for its annual rodeo and Mardi Gras street parade every August. There is also an annual Multicultural Festival in early September.

Demographics[edit]

Mount Isa City (not including Camooweal) has an June 2012 estimated resident population of 22,784 housed in approx. 9,000 dwellings, making the city the largest and most populous in Queensland's vast western interior, and one of the largest centres in outback Australia. The district population is 30,942 and incorporates the Cloncurry, Boulia, Burketown, Carpentaria, Doomadgee, Flinders, Mornington and Richmond shires.[citation needed]

The ratio of males to females living in Mount Isa is reputedly five to one. Former Mayor John Molony drew international press attention in August 2008 when he told the Townsville Bulletin newspaper that Mount Isa's gender imbalance made it a good place for "not so attractive" women to live.[23][24] However, the most recent census found that men actually comprise only 52.6% of the population and that the five-to-one figure is an exaggeration.[25]

Franchises such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, K-Mart, Best and Less, Donut King, Coffee Club, Blockbuster, Harvey Norman, Bunnings, Boating Camping and Fishing and EB Games have established stores in Mount Isa, as well as many smaller locally owned businesses, many in the K-Mart shopping complex and Simpson Central Arcade in the Central Business District.

Suburbs[edit]

Mining in 1951
Mt Isa Street, 1962

The Leichhardt River divides the city into areas known as "mineside" and "townside". Xstrata, the power station and the Airport are on the mineside, whilst the majority of the city, including the CBD and Base Hospital are on the townside. In recent years,[when?] population increases associated with the mining boom has increased demand for accommodation and land.[citation needed] The city has begun to spread out, with new suburbs in the south-east and north of the city being planned or developed. It is planned these expansions will cater for more than 40,000 people over the next 10 to 20 years.[26]

Mineside
  • Happy Valley, Queensland - includes Happy Valley State School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, and Captain James Cook Park
  • Kalkadoon - includes Mount Isa Airport and Kalkadoon Park
  • Mica Creek – includes CS Energy Mica Creek Power Station
  • Miles End - includes Mount Isa train station
  • Parkside – Mount Isa's largest and oldest suburb. Contains the Irish Club, Parkside Flats complex, and Playway Park
  • Soldiers Hill – All streets and parks named after war locations and soldiers, such as Kokoda Road and Gallipoli Park
  • Hilton - More commonly known as Mineside, on the same side of the railway line as Mount Isa Mines and the Incitec Pivot Sulphuric Acid plant. Employee housing, particularly for managers and visiting staff from Xstrata, Casa Grande; a white brick mansion built for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II; now used for the annual Casa Grande Ball, and some mine operations.
Townside
  • Breakaway Estate - Semi-rural acreages
  • Fisher
  • Healy - Residential suburb, site of Healy State School
  • Healy Heights - New suburb, development ongoing, with several houses finished.
  • Lanskey
  • Menzies – includes Buchanan Park events complex, Stables and Racecourse.
  • Mornington
  • Mount Isa City - The Central Business District
  • Mount Isa East – has own post office and smaller shopping centres
  • Pioneer – includes TAFE campus, Spinifex Senior Campus and Ten-Pin Bowling complex
  • Ryan – mostly industrial, includes army and State Emergency Service barracks
  • Spreadborough - mostly bushland and light industry. The notable Spreadborough family still resides in the area.
  • Sunset - Home to Sunset State Primary School, and some shopping facilities
  • The Gap
  • Townview - Home to Townview State Primary School
  • Winston

Transport[edit]

Mount Isa city and surrounds are serviced by a 35 vehicle taxi service. A taxi service known as "Isa-Curry" express transports passengers to and from the neighbouring centre of Cloncurry to Mount Isa and back again, usually for shopping and medical requirements. Additionally, many of the city's clubs have courtesy buses to and from their establishments that run seven days a week and into the early hours of the morning. Greyhound Australia has a depot in Mount Isa, with coach services to and from Townsville, Brisbane and Tennant Creek.

Mount Isa Airport has regular daily services to Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville, as well as once-weekly services to Darwin and the Gold Coast, in addition to other services to remote Outback communities in western Queensland. The primary carriers which service Mount Isa and district are Qantas/QantasLink - Brisbane and Townsville; AirNorth - Darwin and Gold Coast; Regional Express - Townsville. In November 2009, it was announced that Skytrans and Westwing Aviation will commence flights in and out of Mount Isa to and from cities on the coast, commencing in February 2010. Regional Express (REX) also announced flights between Mount Isa and Townsville starting after December 2009. Virgin Australia (VA) began services in August 2012 and offers return services from Brisbane on weekdays.

The city is served by QR passenger train The Inlander, which travels overnight to Townsville twice a week in each direction.

Long distance rail services
Preceding station   Queensland Rail   Following station
toward Townsville
The Inlander Terminus

Education[edit]

Mount Isa has eight public primary schools and three private primary schools:

And three high schools:

  • Good Shepherd Catholic College (private)
  • Mount Isa School of Distance Education (to grade 10)
  • Spinifex State College - Three campuses, Junior from grade 8 to grade 10, Senior from grade 11 to grade 12, and Residential; for students who don't have a high-school in their region and need to leave their place of residence to access years 8-12.

And Early Childhood Education:

The residential campus of Spinifex College is unique in the fact that it is the only State-run boarding-type school in Queensland and it caters to all the outlying towns and cattle-properties as far away as the gulf. Mount Isa is also home to the School of the Air, a unique-to-Australia way of schooling isolated students in Australia's vast lightly populated country areas. The city also holds the main campus of the Mount Isa Institute of TAFE, offering courses in a wide range of fields, including mining, agriculture and trades. In addition, James Cook University has a presence, with the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health in the Base Hospital complex.

Media[edit]

Mount Isa Community Advice & Info Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/groups/beanie430/

Radio[edit]

The following radio stations are available in the Mount Isa region:

  • AM 666 4LM (commercial)
  • FM 100.9 Mob FM (commercial-70% country)
  • FM 101.7 ABC Classic FM
  • FM 102.5 Hot FM (commercial)
  • FM 103.3 4TAB (horse racing)
  • FM 104.1 ABC Triple J
  • FM 104.9 ABC News Radio
  • FM 105.7 Radio Rhema (religious)
  • FM 106.5 ABC Local Radio
  • FM 107.1 ABC Radio National

Television[edit]

Five broadcast television services operate in Mount Isa — commercial stations Imparja Television and Southern Cross7 (formerly known as ITQ Channel 8, QQQ, QTV and QSTV- Queensland Satellite Television), and the Government-owned ABC and SBS. Imparja has a programming affiliation agreement with the Nine Network. Aboriginal focused channel NITV (National Indigenous Television) broadcasts on UHF Channel 35.

Digital Television transmissions have commenced in Mount Isa. New channels provided by the ABC and SBS can be received with a digital set top box or digital television. Additional channels from the commercial broadcasters that are available in most other areas of Australia are expected to commence transmission in 2011-2012. Analogue television transmissions will be switched off by 31 December 2013.

Newspapers[edit]

The North West Star is a local newspaper which is printed daily Monday to Friday. Also available is the The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail and Townsville Bulletin.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mount Isa City Council - Population and Dwelling Profile". Office of Economic and Statistical Research. Retrieved September 2012. 
  2. ^ Mount Isa at Australian Explorer
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mount Isa (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  4. ^ ABS Census 2006 QLD North West Statistical Division
  5. ^ Mount Isa Water
  6. ^ Official Mt. Isa page, using "The Isa" term
  7. ^ Kabalulumana Hostel
  8. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d Cook, Penny (2006). Discover Queensland Heritage. Corinda, Queensland: Pictorial Press Australia. p. 17. ISBN 1876561424. 
  10. ^ "Moonah Creek 'Hanging Tree' (entry 14815)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  11. ^ "Former Underground Hospital, Mount Isa (entry 15875)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Tent House (Mount Isa) (entry 15517)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  13. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/03/15/3716535.htm
  14. ^ "Bower Bird Battery (entry 16600)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  15. ^ "Mount Isa Mine Early Infrastructure (entry 15946)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  16. ^ "Casa Grande (entry 15867)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  17. ^ "Hodgkinson's Marked Tree (entry 15516)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  18. ^ 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008
  19. ^ "Mount Isa Community: Lead Screening Program 2006-7". Queensland Government. May 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Climate statistics for Mount Isa". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  22. ^ Australian Karting Association (Qld) Incorporated
  23. ^ Ugly girls welcome, says beer goggle capital
  24. ^ Outback mayor seeks "ugly duckling" women
  25. ^ Kira Cochrane (20 August 2008).The ugly face of Oz. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  26. ^ http://www.northweststar.com.au/news/local/news/general/people-have-nowhere-to-live/329190.aspx
  27. ^ "Bill Sweetenham: the bloke from Mt Isa saving British swimming". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 August 2003. 

External links[edit]