Mines, maltese crosses and 4wd fun

Trip Start Feb 06, 2006
Trip End Jan 02, 2013

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Where I stayed
Copper City, Riverside Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hello everyone,

Here we are still in Mount Isa, couldn't leave until I had visited the doctor and got the all clear from my operation.  Yes I am healing well but still have to have time off work, a  little frustrated about that.  The doctor told me that my appendix was 93mm long and full of scars, said that it was happening for quite a while, yes I knew that. My scar is 12cm long, one of them anyway.
So we have been touring around the district.  Our first trip was to a place called Mary Kathleen,  this was once a town back in 1958 and they mined Uranium oxide.  They were contracted to mine only 4082 tonne and 5 years later ceased production.  In 1984 production ceased altogether and the township was auctioned off.  We drove out there and it is a ghost town, just like someone nuked the place.   There is nothing left, no street signs, houses, plants.  Only a fountain, part of a park, roads and gutters and a couple of bouganvillas flowering oh and some concrete slabs where buildings used to be.   You could even imagine a ghost or two walking along the street.  We didn't venture out to the mine but we have seen pictures and it is nice.
The underground hospital was fitting as I have spent time in the one they have now.  It was built by volunteers from the mines here back after Darwin was bombed, to keep patients safe.   Carved into the hillside it was hiden from view with trees and shrubs.  The walls were schale with cedar planks to line the roof.  It contains an operating theatre, nursery, and a ward for patients.  The ward beds had chicken wire under the very thin matress.  Gelignite boxes were used to house equipment "Fracture boxes" they were called.  Cupboards were made from mine packing crates.   All the equipment in there now is from that time.  The hospital was never put to use as a hospital but some nurses would use it to sleep in when they were doing nightshift.  You could understand why as the day we visited was warm but in there it was cool.  In the glass cupboard was a small toy soldier, found on the ground. It was used by children for a game like skittles, where they would line the soldiers up and roll marbles down to see how many they could knock over.  The museum held plenty of items from the main hospital and some were very ancient and old, compared to what is used today. Between the hospital and museum they had planted a bush kitchen, with native plants that you can use.  The spinefex plant for example, the seeds are ground to make flour and the long stems for making thatched roofs and as a rope for tying the ends of theirs spears.
One day we decided to go fossicking for maltese crosses. So we drove out to visit Mount Frosty, here they mined bronze-coloured chalcopyrite (copper iron sulphite) though now used as a popular swimming hole in summer.  Then it was off towards Rosebud and Wee Mc Gregor.  Driving along Dave said that there was someone was coming behind us, they beeped their horn and asked if we knew where we where we were going? No we didn't just driving and looking.  So we traveled together, found a creek bed and also found some maltese crosses.  They say that the ones that are exactly like a cross are the most sort after ones.  We have a nice collection now.
It was a real 4wd experience too, something that I haven't done before.  Neil said that Dave looked like he enjoyed the drive heaps, yes he did too.  Over rocks and creeks, dry creek beds and bumps.
The day we decided to visit Lake Julius was interesting. The road is all dirt and like the ocean in places.  We missed the turn off and drove along a dirt road, through 2 gates (not sure that was right) and a wet creek bed where the water came up to the side boards of the car.  After about an hour, we turned back knowing that it must be wrong.  We stopped at the water and had a look at what was in the water, and found nothing interesting.  So we drove back and finally found the right road. 
To get to the lake you have to drive over the Leichardt river bed, all rocks to the lookout and boat ramp. We nearly missed the lookout as it is in front of the house that is built there.  What a lovely sight.  The boat ramp is where we deicded to have our sausage sizzle, a bit late but still nice.  Herb and garlic sausages, onion, egg and a piece of bread. The lake is not Moondarra, as there is not many places where you can access the water easily. But still worth the look.
For father's day I bought Dave Some computer games, one was to solve the mystery in the museum. That one was good.  A crazy frog driving one and some board games too.  He can now load and unload them himself.  He had a relaxing day with Adam, Chantel and Anthony ringing him early so he had to get up before 7.00am, been sleeping in with me sick. 
So that is all for now, it has been raining some here and so we are not prepared to challenge the other dirt roads.  Looking forward to haveing some more adventures.
Take care and stay well,
Love to all,
Sue and Dave

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lyn mcconnell on

Thats very interesting about the underground hospital! Always nice to see where and what you get to see and do, was a beautiful sunny day here in bundy, has been a little overcast/rainy recently. Had a visit from sue and max so that was nice, they are off to Airlie Beach next week for adventure and time out from working hard. And we are off to 1770 in the second week of the school hols for a little R&R, until i hear about your next adventure, take care and love from us in may street.

Peter O on

glad to here that you are well and having a good look around. Still cool in Robinvale 19 . best wishes

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