Riversleigh fossils. Mt Isa museum.

Mount Isa Township.
Like Broken Hill Mt Isa is an isolated outback town created because of a mineral discovery in 1923. It was part of the Cloncurry Shire council till it was declared a town with its own area govt in 1963. Today it has a populace of around 20,000 individuals but at its peak in the nineteen seventies it experienced 34,000 individuals. The town space encompasses a huge unpopulated space generating Mt Isa the second largest town in Australia in land space! The town is fundamentally a mining corporation town like Broken Hill but unlike Broken Hill and other mining centres in Australia it is these kinds of a lengthy way from the coastline and port services. No mining town is even more from the nearest port than Mt Isa. The port of Townsville is virtually 900 kms away and the capital Brisbane is in excess of 1800 kms away.

Pastoralism came to the Mt Isa region in the 1860s and 1870s when considerably of outback QLD was occupied by graziers. The region was known for its mining as the Cloncurry copper and goldfields ended up not that far away and to the south of Mt Isa was the Duchess copper mine and township. (In 1966 the only big supply of phosphate was found out at Duchess mine.) The rocky outcrops and ranges of the space ended up desirable to prospectors hoping for one more excellent mineral find soon after the excellent finds at Cloncurry in 1872.

An itinerant mineral prospector named John Campbell Miles was camped on the Leichhardt River hunting at rock samples in late 1923. He observed promising samples and took them to the govt assayer in Cloncurry discovering that his samples ended up 50% to 78% pure direct with copper as effectively. The QLD govt investigated the deposits even more as Miles named the industry Mt Isa. Businessmen in Cloncurry noticed the possible of the space for mining. In January 1924 the Mount Isa Mines Ltd Firm was floated starting their search for expenditure capital to develop the web page. Douglas McGillivray of Cloncurry was a big trader and his resources permitted the new corporation to obtain mining leases for the pertinent places. Miners flocked to the space and by the finish of 1924 a small town experienced emerged with tents, and a few picket buildings from other towns in the region. Mt Isa then experienced a university room, a drinking water supply from the Leichhardt River and retailers, hotels and an open up air photo theatre!

But it was to get one more ten a long time prior to substantial scale mining began. MIM (Mt Isa Mines) continued to purchases more mining leases and they searched abroad for capital as the 1st leases charge them £245,000. On prime for this was the charge of underground explorations, drilling, metallurgical assessments and plant development. By 1932 MIM experienced used around £4 million with no manufacturing, returns or revenue. But the sizing and possible of this venture was not underestimated by anyone. In 1929 the QLD govt extended the railway from Cloncurry ( it achieved there in 1910) through Duchess to Mt Isa. By this time the populace was around 3,000 individuals. Mined ore was carted by road to the smelter in Cloncurry. The township experienced progressed also with a town planned by the Firm with tree lined streets on the river, with a dam for a drinking water supply on Rifle Creek. The mine functions ended up on the western aspect of the River and the town and firms on the eastern aspect of the River. The Catholic Church opened in 1929 and the Firm constructed a wonderful small hospital for the town. As the Wonderful Depression strike MIM stopped spending on the progress on the town and concentrated on the mines. By this time revenue ended up repaying curiosity on the loans but the corporation did not return a dividend on investments till 1947.

The fortunes of Mt Isa Mines transformed in the thirties as Julius Kruttschnitt, a indigenous of New Orleans was appointed mine supervisor in 1930. He received more fiscal expenditure in MIM from the American Smelting and Refining Firm and the 1st reruns on direct manufacturing happened in 1931. By 1937 beneath Kruttschnitt’s advice the virtually bankrupt corporation of 1930 was returning revenue by 1936. This supervisor was known for usually carrying a collar, tie and match no matter of the Mt Isa temperatures. He played sport with the miners, his spouse contributed to town occasions and he labored on improved housing for the personnel. He retired from the MIM in 1953 but remained on the Firm Board till 1967. At this time Mt Isa Mines grew to become the largest single export earner for Australia and MIM was the largest mining corporation in Australia. Kruttschnitt died in 1974 in Brisbane. He been given quite a few Australiana and global awards for his do the job in mining engineering and metallurgy. He seriously put Mt Isa on the map.

During World War Two the mine concentrated on copper and ceased direct and silver functions as demanded by the war wants. Until finally this time the mine experienced concentrated on direct manufacturing. Labour shortages ended up crippling in the course of the War a long time but the mine continued. Lots of American troops ended up stationed here also and the Mt Isa Hospital experienced an underground hospital constructed in scenario of air raids. No bombing assaults ended up experienced and the hospital was largely utilised by nurses on evening duty catching up on some snooze in the relative interesting underground but the hospital nevertheless remains and is operated by the Countrywide Belief. It is not likely that we will have totally free time when the underground hospital is open up to take a look at it.
Immediately after World War Two the fortunes of Mt Isa transformed remarkably. Lead costs trebled soon after the War from £25 per ton to £91 per ton and hence the MIM was able to spend its 1st dividends in 1947. Personnel been given a direct reward to make their wages better and about three periods the sum of ordinary wages in Brisbane. The populace of the town doubled in the early 1950s just prior to Kruttschnitt retired from around 3,000 to in excess of 7,000. It doubled yet again by 1961 when the populace achieved thirteen,000 and it doubled yet again by 1971 when it achieved 26,000. New services came with the greater populace- an Olympic sizing swimming pool, some air conditioning in some buildings, bitumen streets, much less dust, a lot more hotels and personnel golf equipment, like the Marie Kruttschnitt Females Club! Miners’ wages doubled in the course of the Korean War. It was in the course of this period of time the rail line from Mt Isa to Townsville grew to become the financially rewarding at any time for the Queensland Railways. It was the revenue from this line that led Queensland Rail to develop and rebuilt other traces and introduce the electric Tilt coach etc. MIM found out a lot more and a lot more ore deposits and for starters doubled and then trebled manufacturing in the 1950s. Mt Isa surpassed Broken Hill as Australia’s largest and wealthiest mine.

New suburbs ended up constructed by MIM, the town grew to become the centre of area govt and the Firm constructed a new dam for a drinking water supply on Lake Moondarra with importer sand for a lake shore seaside. As a lot more retailers opened in Mt Isa Mount Isa mines closed its cooperative retail store. A substantial new hospital was opened in 1960 the Royal Traveling Medical professional Services transferred its headquarters from Cloncurry to Mt Isa and the town experienced a new air of prosperity and modernity. The relaxed soon broke. There was a big split between the Australian Personnel Union, an Americana union agitator termed Patrick Mackie and the Mine management in excess of spend and gain sharing suggestions. All do the job at the mine stopped in the course of a bitter dispute that lasted 8 months. The Liberal State Celebration govt which included Joh Bjelke Petersen (he was a minster and not leading in 1964) utilised the police to prohibit the pursuits of the AWU and the Mackie Unionists. Lots of miners still left the town as they could not endure devoid of do the job and it took some time soon after the dispute resolution for the mine to restart complete functions. Mining restarted in 1965.

Ten a long time (1974) later on MIM economically assisted with the development and opening of the new Civic Centre. Mt Isa’s populace achieved its most of around 34,000 and the long term looked brilliant. As the ore high-quality declined the town populace declined but MIM observed new techniques of extracting copper and direct from reduced quality ore. The town continued to exist till MIM marketed utu to Xstrata in 2003. Given that the then town populace has been bit by bit escalating. The area federal MP is Bob Katter who is proposing to develop a new conservative social gathering for the subsequent federal election.

Mount Isa Mines Today.
In the 2001 Census in excess of 20% of Mt Isa’s workforce was used in mining. The town largely survives because of the Xstrata Mines which took in excess of the former corporation, Mount Isa Mines (MIM) Ltd in 2003. Xstrata has invested $570 million in the mines due to the fact its takeover. Xstrata these days employs in excess of 3,000 staff members and 1,000 contractors in the mine. Xstrata is a substantial multinational mining corporation with its headquarters in Switzerland and its head office in London. It has mines in Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas. It miens coal, and copper generally in Australia at areas as far apart as Mt Isa, McArthur River zinc mine in the NT, Bulga coal mine and Anvil Hill coal mine in NSW and Cosmos nickel mine in WA.

Apart from the mines alone Mt Isa has other infrastructure: a power station (oil fired) an experimental mine dam and many buildings and operates these kinds of as the winding plant, shaft headframe etc. Most importantly for the township it also has the copper smelter operates. The ore is even more processed in the Townsville smelter soon after transportation to the coastline. The Mt Isa smelter developed in excess of two hundred,000 tons of copper in 2010 and smelted direct and the concentrator refines the ores of copper, zinc, direct and silver. Across all its mines in Australia Xstrata employs virtually ten,000 individuals second only to its workforce in Africa. Xstrata also operates the Ernest Henry copper, gold and magnetite mines 38 kms north of Cloncurry. This team of mines is envisioned to use around five hundred individuals on a lengthy expression basis. All the ore from these mines is handled in the concentrator and the smelter in Mt Isa. The Isa smelter and concentrator also handles the silver, direct and zinc from the George Fisher( Hilton) mines 20 kms south of Mt Isa. The stack from the smelter, erected in 1978, stands 270 metres higher and can be found from forty kms away.

Outback at Isa Discovery Centre and Riversleigh Fossil Centre.
This centre was opened in 2003. The Riversleigh Fossil Centre moved into the intricate a goal constructed mine termed the Really hard Occasions mine was dug and opened to give readers an underground mine knowledge and the Isa Practical experience Gallery opened with an Outback Park outside the house. The intricate also operates the Customer Info Centre. The Isa Practical experience Gallery utilizes multimedia methods to carry the historical past and Aboriginal lifestyle and mining track record of Mount Isa to daily life.

Riversleigh World Heritage fossil web page is 250kms north of Mt Isa on the Gregory River on an isolated cattle station. The fossil web page covers in excess of ten,000 hectares and is now included in the Lawn Hill nationwide Park. It has been a protected web page due to the fact 1983 and was declared a World Heritage web page of global significance in 1994. But why? Sir David Attenborough points out:

Riversleigh is the worlds’ richest mammal fossil web page relationship from fifteen-twenty five million a long time back. The huge range of fossils found out here are usually imbedded in really hard limestone which was formed when freshwater swimming pools solidified. This occurred at time when this part of Australia was a loaded rainforest space, instead than the semi-arid grassland that it is now. The fossils include a period of time of 20 million a long time serving to researchers realize how Australia, its weather and animal species transformed. Most of what is known about Australia’s mammals in excess of 20 million a long time was learnt from bone discoveries at Riversleigh, and the most considerable ones ended up observed in just one hour!

It is the mammals that we find the most interesting these days with substantial mega-fauna from prehistoric eras the most amazing. But there have also been finds of birds, frogs, fish, turtles and reptiles. The finds have included: the ancestors of Tasmanian Tigers (thylacines) substantial meat having kangaroos huge crocodiles huge flightless birds the ancestors of our platypus (monotreme) historic koalas and wombats diprotodon huge marsupial moles and bandicoots around forty species of bats and marsupial “lions”. The web page has yielded a finish cranium and tooth of a huge platypus and the many thylacines have added to our former knowledge of just one- the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger.

Scientists have dug in excess of 250 fossil loaded web sites at Riversleigh acquiring hundreds of new species. Who has heard of: dasyurids, cuscuses, ilariids and wynyardiids? I have no thought what they ended up. Other weird discoveries have been: ‘Thingodonta’ (Yalkaparidon) – an odd marsupial with cranium and tooth like no other dwelling marsupial Fangaroo- a small grass having kangaroo species with huge tooth the Large Rat-kangaroo, (Ekaltadeta) that ate meat( probably the Fangaroo) and the Emuary, (Emuarius) which was 50 % emu and 50 % cassowary in characteristics. The Fossil Centre in Mt Isa has some reconstructions of some of these fossil animals of prehistoric periods.

Posted by denisbin on 2013-12-29 03:49:forty four

Tagged: , Mount Isa , fossils , Riversleigh , Mount Isa Museum , museum , bones , fossil bones