Mount Isa

The city of Mount Isa is located:

  • 1829 kilometres from Brisbane, the Queensland State Capital
  • 883 kilometres from Townsville (the nearest major City)

Prospector, John Campbell Miles, stumbled upon one of the world’s richest deposits of copper, silver and zinc during his 1923 expedition into the Northern Territory. When Miles inspected the yellow-black rocks in a nearby outcrop, they reminded him of the ore found in the Broken Hill mine that he had once worked at. Upon inspection these rocks were weighty and heavily mineralised. A sample sent away to the assayer in Cloncurry confirmed their value. Miles and four farmers staked out the first claims in the area. Taken with friend’s stories of the Mount Ida gold mines in Western Australia, Miles decided upon Mount Isa as the name for his new claim.

Mount Isa is in the top two of the largest copper mining and smelting operations in the country. The mine is the most significant landmark in the area, with the stack from the lead smelter (built 1978), standing 270 m tall, visible from all parts of the city and up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) out

Mount Isa has a great climate with an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine a day and only 50 wet days per year. There are two distinct seasons – the wet season from November to March and the dry season centred on June, July and August. Summer months are hot, with average minimums in the low 20s (degrees Celsius) and maximums in the high 30s. Winter is much more pleasant, with average daytime temperatures in the mid-20s and nights averaging a very comfortable 12 degrees. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Mount Isa was –2.9 degrees!

Annual Events & Attractions:

  • Attractions include the Hard Times Mine at “Outback at Isa”
  • The World War II-era Mount Isa Underground Hospital is an historical building that has been registered on the Register of the National Estate and the Queensland Heritage Register. An air-raid shelter which could function as a hospital was a precautionary measure taken after Darwin was bombed in 1942. Local miners excavated the site which remains today as the only underground health facility in Queensland which was built during World War II.
  • A memorial has been made especially for the Rodeo, down Rodeo Drive; the sidewalks have special memorials embedded in the cement.
  • The burial place of John Campbell Miles, the founder of Mount Isa, is on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Miles Street. His ashes are buried underneath a large statue where each panel represents a significant part of Mount Isa.
  • The Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo & Mardi Gras has given Mount Isa the title of “RODEO CAPITAL OF AUSTRALIA”, the largest annual rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere with non-stop rodeo action, held each year in August. isarodeo.com.au
  • The Mount Isa Show has grown into one of Mount Isa’s Premiere events. The event attracts over 6000 patrons and is growing every year. This year the show will be holding the Australian Bronco Branding Championships. The event is held each year in June. mountisashow.com.au
  • Although situated in an arid area, the City’s Lake Moondarra, 19 kilometres to the north of the CBD, provides both drinking water and a haven for water sports, bird watching and recreation. The lake is stocked with Barramundi and Sooty Grunter. Mount Isa’s annual Fishing Classic tagged barra competition is a highly contested prize. Held every October. lakemoondarrafishingclassic.com.au