Mt Isa and Cloncurry
We have had the last 4 days exploring the Mt Isa and Cloncurry townships and surrounding areas. The people in The Isa would take offence at calling it a town because it is actually a city. The Isa appears to have pinched a few of Cloncurry’s (or ‘The Curry’ as they call it) original attractions……….Flying Doctor and the School of the Air.
Cloncurry has a few of its own….The John Flynn Centre and the Flying Doctor as well. Not to mention a pretty good Information Centre. The centre piece of which is a section dedicated to Burke & Wills. On display is what is thought to be Burke’s water bottle , apparently there are a couple of competing water bottles in other places. But who wants to spoil a good story! The Centre also had an enormous collection of aboriginal artifacts; stone tools and weapons. There were also about 8 old boomerangs collected in the 1870-1880 period.
Back in The Isa we spent some time at the Information Centre which has a whole host of things under one roof. In fact you could just go there for a couple of days and say you ‘have seen it all’. Of particular interest was the Riversleigh Fossil Centre which gave a really good presentation on the site we had seen a few weeks back when we were staying at Adels Grove, a couple of hundred k to the north.
Nearby is the old Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine. The township is about 3 k off the Hwy, now deserted and buildings removed. The street layout remains with concrete pads scattered around on which buildings once stood. Althego was keen to see the actual old open cut which is full of funny coloured water. Now this was supposed to be a further 7k down a worn out bitumen road full of rather deep potholes and invading vegetation on its edges. After 7 k the bitumen ran out and we were left with a recently graded (graded is a generous term) gravel road which kept going and going. Eventually we caught up with the grader stopped in the middle of the road. Homealone was quite edgy, though quiet, at this stage. So Allthego thought it wise to ask the driver where the mine was. He replied with a question as to ‘which mine’. After explaining the old Mary Kathleen mine (apparently there are a few ‘old mines’ in these parts) he said it was back where the bitumen ran out and you had to go off on a side track. He didn’t think we would make it with the van. After informing Homealone (from a distance) that we would need to turn back, we did so but passed up the opportunity of taking the side track. Instead observing part of the mine site from the road. The mine will need to wait another day.
We leave Cloncurry tomorrow, heading for Winton. It is starting to get cooler in the evenings. Soon I suspect we will give up the lightweight clothing at night and get into our woollies. Not a drop of rain in 7 weeks and only light winds.
Looking up in the clear evening sky the moon is waxing to full, the little rabbit standing tall among the cheese!