Mt Isa (pop 23 000 with 50 ethnic backgrounds)
Off to our next large inland city. A city with 52 bird species. We counted 63 kites (black and the whistling ones) in a 50 km stretch. We saw two black eagles feeding on road kill kangaroos as well. Mt Isa has the largest underground mine in Aus , 3rd biggest producer of lead, 5th in silver, 10th in zinc, and 19th in copper (in the world). You can do a two and half hour tour underground in the mine.
What an unusual city. The mine is right in town. Everywhere you go, you see the 270m high chimney and the imposing mine. Due to the wind direction, it doesn’t create a pollution problem.
On Sunday we attended the local Uniting Church. A lovely multicultural group with many Fijians, Tongans and Samoans. Loved their singing and morning tea was actually a great lunch (what warm and welcoming hospitality!)
We visited the underground hospital which was a highlight. It was built in 1942 for fear of Mt Isa being bombed after the Darwin bombing during the second world war. In the 1950's it was closed up, abandoned, and then forgotten. In 1977 it was rediscovered but locked up again. In 1997 locals decided to restore it and open it to the public. It really is a special place to visit. There is much to see (including a real skeleton and the tent house next door) but best of all was the quality of the tour guides. They were just great (opening up for us and taking us through even though it was ANZAC day and they planned to close.
We did go to the ANZAC march and memorial service. It was moving, well done, and the whole of Mt Isa was either marching or looking on.
Lake Moondarra is about 18km out of town but a lovely peaceful place to visit. Great picnic spots and lots of birdlife.
We’ve made some lovely travelling friends (Gayle and Wayne from Brisbane) with whom we shared wine and cheese in the evenings. It is fun to catch up at the end of the day and listen to how they experienced the towns we're visiting.
Trivia: It is the second biggest city in Aus (geographically) covering 43,310 square kilometres because the small town of Camooweal 188km west) is actually a suburb! The biggest one (I knew you were wondering) is Kalgoorlie Boulder.
Well, off to Camooweal, the outer suburb a long way away.
Underground hospital real skeleton
Underground hospital museum
Underground hospital entrance
This is what road trains look like
Mt Isa town
Mt Isa mine
Moondarra lake view to west
Mary Kathleen pond in business centre 50 yrs ago
Mary Kathleen Ghost town pond
Cape Town 11000km and Antarctica 7700km
ANZAC day parade
ANZAC after the memorial service