Mt Isa, population 21 750, in Kalkadoon country, is the most significant town in a 700 kilometre, 437.5 mile, radius. Mt Isa owes its presence to the large quantities of zinc, silver, lead and copper and to John Miles who, in 1924, established Mount Isa Mines. The silver and lead mines at Mt Isa are the largest in the world.
Today Mt Isa is the most important industrial, commercial and administrative centre in northwest Queensland.
The mine is the major icon of Mt Isa and the night view from Rotary lookout is unreal – a spaceship like mine, a cement city and sterile hills, you may feel like you are looking at a moon village.
An underground mine tour, or just a surface tour, is an excellent way to learn about this industry and the people who maintain it. The Mining Display and Underground Rotary Museum are both very interesting. The former features historical photographs, an underground simulator, examples of ore and film of mining and smelting operations. The latter features an Aboriginal encampment display depicting tribal customs and a brilliant gem and mineral display.
Visitors can view the Royal Flying Doctor Base at Mt Isa – learn about this unique operation that provides routine and emergency medical care for the people of the Australian outback.
School of the Air is another unique service for outback families. It is worth visiting to see how teachers interact with their students who live on remote stations via radio.