Mount Isa was a bit of a surprise package really I wasn’t sure what to expect being a mining town but it did have quite a number of interesting things going on and a very extensive information centre. The big blue “I” is usually our first stop on any trip when we arrive at new location and helps heaps in working out our itinerary. We have 3 nights here and cannot extend due to some important rodeo that’s happening and accommodation is at a premium.
First night we took a trip up to the town lookout to take in the city lights and we weren’t disappointed. The lookout is basically in the centre of the business district and afforded great views over the town. The night was quite warm and clear and we had a bit of fun with the cameras.
Today we had ear marked a number of things we intended to do. We started off at the school of the air, then the WWII Underground Hospital and tent house and in the afternoon we were to go out to Lake Moondarra for a picnic lunch and site seeing.
The School of the Air was incredible in that our guide was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the school. Founded by Bib ?? in the 60’s it has progressed with technology. They currently have about 120 students in this particular school. We were given access to a classroom where a teacher was in the process of delivering a lesson to 3rd graders. My hat goes off to these dedicated teachers and also to the parents/governesses (govies) and the children who seem to thrive in what is a difficult and remote environment. There was a photo of a current student sitting in the shade of a tree in the middle of a paddock with his computer and phone engaged in a lesson. There are a number of schools throughout remote Australia that perform these services. The postage cost alone for the Mt Isa school to send student work books etc out and have them returned was $40000.00 in 2017.
From there we headed off to the Underground Hospital which was built during WWII. The site has been maintained and hosts a plethora of medical instruments, utensils and hospital furniture as well as the underground hospital. We had one of the volunteer ladies take us underground and provide some informative dialogue as we went. She was a real card and her and her cronies were throwing one liners around. The hospital was built by miners who volunteered their time to construct the facility which was tunnelled into the bed rock. It has not been restored just maintained and is a credit to all those concerned.
We ended up so late with these two activities (and the wind was blowing yet again) we decided to have lunch in Mt Isa and head out in the afternoon to Lake Moondarra for a drive. This lake was built as a result of the mine and its need for water and is huge. It’s about 60ft deep at the dam wall.. We found a few interesting birds on our meanderings around the lake which helped top of a great day. Tomorrow it’s on to Winton –home of the Dinosaurs.