Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Life in a mining town

I returned from visiting my daughter, son-in-law and my two little granddaughters last night. It was nice to get back to the cooler weather after experiencing 38 or 39 degrees of heat each day and it is only spring! I thought I would share a few photos to show what it is like to live in one of the foremost  mining towns in Queensland....Mount Isa.

This photo is taken from where my girl lives which is a few kilometres from the mine. There are three smoke stacks which dominate the landscape. I read on the net that the highest smokestack is from the lead mine. The middle one, which is candy striped, carries copper mine emissions and the shortest is sulphuric acid production for a phosphate mine.
Silver, copper, zinc and lead are mined and a Living with Lead Alliance has been established to educate the public about how to stay healthy while living there. I have spoken to many locals over the years about whether they worry about the impact of lead mining but nobody seems to have any concerns about it. Give me the clean mountain air of Toowoomba any day. :-)
The township has been built in the shadow of the mine and you could walk from the shopping precinct to the mine in a short time. Mount Isa is celebrating its 90th birthday and there is a huge 90 sign at the mine which is lit up at night.  

This smokestack goes 24/7.
We visited the Family Fun Park the night before I left and it is a really great place for families.
This photo was taken about 6.30pm so spare a thought for those who live in the north of Queensland if you think daylight saving would be a good idea for Queenslanders. Not in that region of the state! In the SE the sun had gone down at 6pm. Imagine what it is like in the middle of summer in the north-west.

The Family Fun Park is about a block from the mine so the candy-striped smokestack isn't far away. This photo was taken as it was getting dark at about 6.45pm. The girls had been running through the water so it was still very warm at that time of day.
When I visit I usually take the girls for a walk up the road and we try to find some bees or anything interesting along the way. Unfortunately we only went for one walk and it was hard to find any grass to walk on so as to get away from the dirt. It was a lot drier than the last time I was up there as there have been no significant rains for several years. That region missed the flooding rains of the last couple of years.
However, we did find a few ants going about their business in the brittle grass.

We did some creative play with animals from the library as it was more pleasant being inside and enjoying the cooler air from the evaporative cooler. I don't think that opening one's electricity bill when it arrives would be a pleasant experience for anyone living in the NW of Queensland.
The Outback is a harsh place to live but my girl loves it. She knows lots of people and is very involved in the community. It's all about being happy where you are planted, isn't it?
Have you visited the Outback and if so, did you enjoy the experience?







  1. We loved having you Mum, and hope you survived the heat and lack of grass! Miss you

    1. Miss you too and the pitter patter of little feet!

  2. Hi Nanna Chel, Nice to have you back. I went to Mt Isa many years ago but can't really remember much about it, so your pictures were great. Did the girls like their presents?

    1. Barb, they certainly did. My suitcase was a lot lighter on the trip home. :-)

  3. Thank you for the tour of Mt Isa. Glad to hear you had a good time away. I have passed through there once, when I was 16. I was on a road trip with my mum and dad.

    Daylight savings starts here this weekend, and goes for six whole months. It is way too long now. By the time it is finished I am so tired and drained. I think it is mainly designed for city folk, the further west of Adelaide you go the longer the daylight, and it is pitch black in the mornings. Pulling school kids out of bed in the dark is not fair!

    I never pictured myself living in the outback when I was younger, and although I get disheartened sometimes with the conditions, I actually like a lot of what the outback has to offer.

    1. Tania, I agree that Daylight saving is designed for city folk and I don't think some of them realise what it is like for those in the Outback and country areas. I think you either love or hate living in the Outback. My girl loves it as she has a close community of friends there.

  4. Yes we did visit the outback. Something we didn't really think we would ever do. Our youngest daughter did a couple of years of uni. Decided she didn't want to do the course she was doing and went waaaay out west to be a governess for three children.
    This is a girl who had gone as far west as Toowoomba til then. She was 3 hrs out of Birdsville on a cattle station . The kids were part of Mt Isa School of the air. That was the big city .
    She loved the lifestyle. We went to see her and I could have stayed. I loved it also. Hubby enjoyed it but he is a coast person.
    Eventually daughter came back to the coast and did a teaching degree. She now teaches in Toowoomba . But has great memories of her years outback. LOL

  5. Well, your girl has come back to a great place.:-) Yes, it is a different lifestyle in the Outback and Mt.Isa is like an oasis in the desert which you can appreciate if you see it from the air. I probably would never have visited the town if my girl hadn't done her Uni placement there and eventually moved there.

  6. This is of course one of the most fun things about reading blogs from those who live in another country (besides the new recipes) - fun facts about places I've always heard of and wanted to visit! Thank you for sharing.

  7. If you ever come to Australia I can think of better places to visit, Kathy! However, some people love travelling through the open spaces of the Outback. I must admit I prefer the coast for a holiday. :-)


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