BLUE AND MA'S ODYSSEY travel blog

Mt. Isa Miner

Lake Moondara

Now this IS the outback

The Burke River

Main Street Boulia

The Red Stump


19th August, 2013

You have all heard of Mt. Isa I am sure but did you know that a prospector by the name of John Campbell Miles discovered lead ore while travelling through the region in 1923.

In January 1924 Mt. Isa Mines Ltd. Was established and is Australia’s most distant mine from a sea port or coal field and consequently the town of Mt. Isa was born for the amenity of men that were attracted to work there.

In August 1928 The Royal Flying Doctor was established in the town.

By 1955 Mt. Isa Mines had become the largest mining company in Australia and in 1963 Mt. Isa became its own shire and subsequently declared a town in 1968.

We did a self-guided driving tour around the town and were quite surprised at how large it is. It has all the retail outlets that you need as well as anything and everything for the travelling public as well as the usual museums and displays and in this instance mostly to do with mining.

The town puts me in mind of a story I read recently about Victorian England where the mill was the major employer and sat on a hill overlooking the town. Mt. Isa is Australia’s version of this scene.

It is a harsh climate with some extremes in temperature, from very chilly mornings to blistering hot days.

21st August, 2013.

Do you ever get the feeling that something isn’t right, or that you have forgotten to do something well Rob and I have had this feeling for the past few days and it wasn’t until this morning when we hit the road to leave Mt. Isa that it finally dawned on us what was wrong.

WE MISS GREG AND CAROLYN. We departed company and went in different directions when we left Cloncurry the other day with them heading towards the coast and us heading inland.

It just doesn’t seem right when you look in the rear-view mirror and there are no headlights following. I am sure we will most likely cross paths again before this trip is over as there are a lot of miles between inland and the coast and at some stage we will both have to travel the same path. We wish them well in their travels and look forward to catching up again. Oh yes, Rob says that “port-o’clock” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Our next destination is Boulia, Central Western Queensland. The road from Mt. Isa is a one lane bitumen road, which I might add you come upon rather abruptly about 2ks outside of town.

We met a few road trains going in the opposite direction as well as other caravans and cars but everyone (with one exception, and no it wasn’t a road train) were very courteous and we each made room for the other vehicle to pass.

The landscape out here is very very sparse, tufted grasses, red soil, rocks and rocks and more rocks and salt bush type trees which are few and far between…….I love it.

We both noticed the lack of wildlife, no birds and we only saw one big red kangaroo. There are cattle grazing on the roadside but even they are in a rather poor condition. There is no evidence of any water anywhere.

We arrived in Boulia around lunchtime and decided to stay in the caravan park on the other side of the Bourke River Bridge.

Boulia is located 300 kilometres south of Mount Isa at the junction of the Diamantina and Kennedy Development Roads and the town’s fame largely rests with its association with the Min Min Light which is a strange spectral light that can appear, hover, disappear and reappear with an eerie will of its own.

Tradition has it that Burke and Wills filled their water bags at the river in Boulia and promptly named it the Burke River and then moved up the river about 9 miles to the junction of another river which of course they named the Wills River. At the moment there is little or no water in the Burke River as they have had no rain since November last year.

Boulia shire area is 61176 square kilometres, the population is 600, 152 metres above sea level, 250mm is the average rainfall and it is the birthplace of motorised cattle transport in Queensland.

There is a stump in the middle of town named, appropriately, THE RED STUMP and if you go any further out you will come out the other side. To the west of Boulia is the vast Simpson Desert.

Boulia was settled in approximately 1876 and is a sheep and cattle grazing area and Marion Downs is the largest property and consists of some 1 million hectares. It is also regarded as the capital of the “Channel Country”

The climate here is in the extreme regions ranging up to 50 degrees in summer and as low as 9 degrees in winter. This area was once part of the inland sea and there are many fossils to be seen both around the town and in the Stone House museum.

Boulia is famous for its camel races and attracts many people from all over the world and the population can swell to over 3000 people over the three day event.



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