Monday, July 10, 2017

July 9th 2017

Sadly we decided to leave our beautiful campsite by the Corella Lagoon. It was only a short distance to the Mary Kathleen Mine Site.

The abandoned open pit of the Mary Kathleen mine
The Mary Kathleen open-cut uranium mine operated in 1958 until 1982. The deposit was discovered in 1954, located in the Selwyn Ranges between Mt Isa and Cloncurry. Uranium was first discovered by Clem Walton and Norm McConachy. The name Mary Kathleen was named after Norm's late wife. Rio Tinto formed the company of Mary Kathleen in 1955. An Architect-designed town grew during 1956-58 with reticulated water from Lake Corella. By 1961 approximately 1000 people lived at the new township. 
The mine became the site of Australia's first major rehabilitation project of a uranium mine. The site won an award from the Institution of Engineers of Australia for 'Environmental Excellence'

 There are many many narrow rough tracks through the mine areas. We unhitched the Jayco and drove and walked and eventually found a very deep mine.  which was the Mary Kathleen pit mine. The whole area has been abandoned. It really surprised me that there seemed to be no restrictions on where we drove or walked. Luckily we chatted to a couple of guys who had been walking around the huge pit. We decided to do the same. It is quite picturesque with distinctly coloured layers of rock and a deep dam of water at the bottom. It took us an hour to walk around the top of the dam, it was a very long way down to the water...quite dangerous really and I was pleased not to have 2 young boys to supervise!!! There were no restrictive guide rails apart from a row of very large rocks on one side.

Bloodwood tree in bloom

On returning to our van we, at last, found a Bloodwood tree in full bloom...quite a treat really because for a couple of weeks now, we have only seen the large buds ready to burst into beautiful cream fluffy flowers.
After lunching we drove back to the area known as the Mary Kathleen Ghost Town. The streets are still driveable, and there are many concreted pads if you wish to park on a ready made level 'patch'  It is a huge area with quite a lot of rigs set up but it is not at all congested. There are many trees about as there would have been in a town, again, the ghost gums make the site quite picturesque. There are no facilities provided, but it is free.

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