Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published October 24th 2014
Take an informative Mine Tour with a knowledgeable guide
When you learn about a town in Queensland that once produced 225,000kg of gold, 50,000kg of silver and about 360,000 tonnes of copper over a 99 year period, it's a place you certainly want to put on your "to do list" for a future visit. Not only are these facts of great historical value to our State, they are equally important to anyone who has had relatives working in the mines during that period.
During the Second World War Mount Morgan Mines didn't stop working. Their employees were considered "essential industry workers" and therefore didn't go to war. My grandfather was one of those. In fact, both my grandfathers worked at some time in the Mount Morgan Mines so returning to Mount Morgan for a visit was always on my "to do list".
Old bridges to the mines, now just a saddened memory of the past
Mount Morgan is located in Central Queensland was founded as a gold mining town in 1882 by the Morgan Brothers. Although there is some history over who laid the first claim, stockman William MacKinlay was the first to discover gold in 1870. The Morgan Brothers mining interests were originally in Rockhampton and once they got wind of the find, they were the first to peg out a registered claim. The town was originally named South Calliungal; however later changed to Mount Morgan. Unfortunately the mine closed in 1981 and a 43m deep acid water filled pit now lies where the mine once was. Locals still believe there is more gold to be found and there is talk of the mine being reopened in the future. Time will tell.
The 43m deep Acid Water filled pit, quite a beautiful sight
Mount Morgan Mine tours are run twice daily at $25 Adults, Pensions $22 & Children $10 and are extremely informative on not only the mines history but Mount Morgan's history as well. We certainly didn't go away with any question unanswered. A drive around tour of Mount Morgan is included with time spent at the Suspension Bridge over Dee River, the Mine's Office and Museum and the mine lookout over the pit. Mount Morgan is home to Australia's tallest free standing brick chimney stack and what a formidable sight it captivates on the sky's horizon.
Former Queensland National Hotel, Mt Morgan, now a private residence
As with many Queensland towns Mount Morgan had 27 hotels in her heyday with only four still open today as operating businesses. Others were either pulled down or burnt down and with that, much history lost forever. One former hotel, the ex Queensland National still stands today albeit as a private residence. I was impressed by the grandeur of its appearance. It was built beside the National Bank; however along with the hotel, the bank is now also a private residence.
The railway link between Rockhampton and Mount Morgan was not built until 1898 and although not used today for what it was intended, it now houses the Railway Museum and Information Centre. Open from 9am to 4pm, visitors can consume themselves in 3D presentations and audio visual displays. The day we visited, one of the volunteers gave us a commentary of the buildings and trains in the railway yards. Local arts and crafts are available for purchase and entry is free.
An endearing Great Aunt, remembered for her Box Brownie
A visit to Mount Morgan wouldn't be complete without a visit to the local cemetery to marry up the names of the pioneers with the street names in the town and also in my case, to take a photograph of a passed-over relative to add to my family history collection. Mining and the money provided by its excavation forged Queensland and Australia in the Country it is today.