Bustout arrived at Mount Isa on a Sunday and found the place closed. You forget things, but this place is historically a union town. Union before mining. So working on Sunday to this day remains sacrosanct at the Isa. And thatís great. We are now waiting to see how this vestige of union history is translated to Broken Hill.
The city came into existence soon after 1923 when John Campbell Miles discovered a rich seam of silver-lead - the western edge of the Cloncurry field. Named after the Mount Ida goldfields in Western Australia, mining operations began there a year later. In 1964, the town made national headlines when the Australian Workerís Union and lobbyist Pat Mackie led an eight-month strike , which closed the copper smelter and led the Queensland Government to declare a state of emergency in the region. The dispute was settled in April 1965.
Mount Isa was proclaimed a city in 1968 when the population had reached 18,000. The city and surrounds grew in front of and around the mine to the point that, by 1972, 34,000 people resided in the town. The population dropped steadily for the next three decades until a mining boom occurred, steadily increasing the population again.
The two hour surface visit to the Mount Isa Mines is recommended.
A minimum of four days is needed to delight in the Isa.