Mount Isa Off The Beaten Path

  • Road to Mary Kathleen
    Road to Mary Kathleen
    by eviltooth
  • Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine
    Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine
    by eviltooth

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    Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine

    by eviltooth Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine

    Turning left just prior to Mary Kathleen town will bring you to the open-cut mine. The existing bitumen road is in fairly good condition and the climb up to the mine is moderately difficult, with some fair size washouts. You can see the original washplant and staff offices on your right as you climb the range to the mine. Once reaching the top of the track the mine is only a short walk to the left of the pit access ramp. The spectacular blue colour of the lake within the mine is inspiring and is best appreciated at mid-afternoon. The colour is due to copper sulphide.

    The water looks tempting, especially in this dry and hot weather, but strictly no swimming due to the potential health hazard (it was a uranium mine still rich in uranium deposits, what do you expect? :p).

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    Mary Kathleen Township

    by eviltooth Written Oct 30, 2004

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    Road to Mary Kathleen

    Mary Kathleen was initially surveyed by a mining company to provide accommodation and amenities to the workers of the nearby uranium mine. The uranium deposit was discovered by Clem Walton and Norm McConarchy in 1954 and was named "Mary Kathleen" after McConarchy's wife. The company provided the entire infrastructure including the town, a dam on the nearby Corella River (now known as Clem Walton Park), open-cut mine and treatment plant. The town enjoyed prosperity between 1956 and 1963 until it was placed in mothballs. In 1974, the mine was reopened until 1984, when due to the federal Labour government's "three mines" policy which confined Australia's uranium production to the three sites already being mined: Ranger, Nabarlek and Olympic Dam, Mary Kathleen was closed. The entire town infrastructure, including houses, went to public auction. Today no buildings remain, but the ghost town like atmosphere makes one wonder what this fluorishing community would have been like.

    The access toad into the town is all sealed but is in a bad state of disrepair, beware of some very large potholes and pavement failure areas.

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Mount Isa Off The Beaten Path

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