Tag: Mount Isa

Some Queensland towns have recorded their biggest downpours in almost 12 months and there’s more to come

Longreach 4730

Queensland’s outback communities are celebrating much-needed rainfall, with some towns recording their biggest downpours in almost 12 months.

Key points:

  • Some towns in north-west Queensland have recorded their biggest downpours in almost a year
  • Other parts of the state, like at Condamine, south-west of Dalby, only received a few millimetres but still enjoyed the wet conditions
  • The Bureau of Meteorology says more rain is expected however there is also a risk of flash flooding in the Gulf Country

The biggest falls were recorded in the Central Highlands west of Emerald, where Upper Retreat has recorded 176 millimetres since 9:00am Friday.

In western Queensland, near Richmond, Burleigh has had 129mm and on the tropical coast Kennedy received 136mm.

It has made for some unique outdoor adventures for those brave enough to take on the mud.

In one video posted on social media, two teenagers are seen making the most of the rain, which has transformed their desilted dam at Condamine (west of Dalby) into a tobogganing paradise.


This was the first flow in four years for this creek at Araluen, 30km north of Goondiwindi, after 10 days of rain. (Supplied: Matty Gooderham)

They are seen body-surfing down the muddy cavity before splashing about the shallow brown puddles.

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“Boys will be boys,” mother Heidi Beeton joked.

She said the region had only received 8mm yesterday but it was still enough to be joyous about.

In Pentland, West of Charters Towers, Tess Pemble said it has been “a long time” since she had seen rain this hard.

“The pump needs turning off but it can wait,” she posted alongside a video which showed pools of water forming on paddocks which have sat bone-dry for months.

Video: Pentland resident Tess Pemble says it's been a "long time" since it rained this hard

(ABC News)

In the Central West near Mt Isa, Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton said he got 30mm on his property out of town but Boulia recorded 70mm, which he said was a “good start”.

“The last time we recorded rain was May last year but our substantial rain was in February, March last year,” he said.

“Some of the shire was doing it pretty tough so hopefully they’ll be the ones to get a bit and then give them a bit of heart .”

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Cr Britton said the prospect of more rain was good news for graziers and the local economy and he is hoping that by the end of the week, all parts of the shire will have had “a crack at it”.

“Queensland, well Australia [in general] needs a really good soaking and with the cattle market the way it is we hope everyone gets a good season so they can take advantage of it,” he said.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Alex Majchrowski said Queensland’s drought-stricken communities could look forward to further rain.

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“The rain is definitely welcome and more rain is expected over the next few days,” Mr Majchrowski said.

“Hopefully, the development of a monsoon trough sometime next week will continue to bring rain to the area.”

But he warned the rain will bring with it the risk of flash flooding in the Gulf Country (to towns including Mount Isa, Doomadgee and Normanton).

“Over the next few weeks it is really the northern and central west areas that we can expect to get the most rainfall and that’s sort of expected to persist until Thursday,” he said.

In the south-east of the state, Mr Majchrowski said slow-moving thunderstorms dumped falls of up to 70 millimetres west of Brisbane this morning.

While a lot more rain is needed across the state’s drought-stricken communities, the weekend’s downpour has brought hope for a change in season and more rain to come.

LocationOvernight fallsBoulia 65mmMount Isa 22mmJulia Creek 54mmHulberts Bridge (East of Julia Creek) 114mmBurleigh (North East of Mount Isa) 129mmCloncurry 18mmHughenden 41mmRichmond 63mmBurketown 33mmNormanton 35mmUrandangi 40mmLongreach 40mm

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

Australia’s only underground hospital was built out of necessity — but never used

Mount Isa 4825

As World War II inched closer to Australia, miners in Queensland’s north-west volunteered their manpower to dig and fit out Australia’s first — and only — underground hospital.

Consisting of four tunnels, and only a stone’s throw from Mount Isa’s actual hospital, the underground structure was the town’s back-up plan should it be bombed like Darwin.

The threat was real, considering Mount Isa had its mine and plenty of valuable minerals nearby.


The tunnels are not far from Mount Isa’s actual hospital. (ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

While the subterranean hospital was never utilised for its intended purpose, weekly drills involved staff relocating patients to the tunnels in preparation for an actual attack.

A maternity section and bassinets were in place, as was an area designated for emergency surgeries.

The tunnels began collapsing in the late 1970s but were repaired and have been open as a tourist attraction in 2001.


Ramona Markowski is one of the hospital’s many volunteer guides. (ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

Knowing the history

One of the hospital’s many tour guides is Ramona Markowski, who has been volunteering for about four years after she moved to Mount Isa from the United States.

She said its “fascinating” story was a unique part of Australia’s history.

“It is the only underground hospital we have in Australia,” she said.

“Even though it was never used as a hospital, the nurses would come here after their shifts to sleep because it is so much cooler in the tunnels than it is outside.

“When it was built, the threat to Mount Isa seemed very real as the copper mine was seen as a strategic resource of great value to the Japanese.

“Reacting to the perceived risk of air raids, the director of the regional district hospital, Dr Edward Ryan, contacted the superintendent of the mine who offered the services of his company and his chief underground foreman to design and construct a series of tunnels to serve as an emergency underground hospital site.”


A collection of instruments and bottles found during the excavation of the hospital. (ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

Building on their own time

Ms Markowski said local miners volunteered their time and completed the work in just two weeks between March and April 1942.

“The miners drilled, blasted and mucked out a series of four tunnels,” she said.

“Three run parallel to each other and the fourth intersects them, creating a capital E shape.”

“They had their supplies down there, the surgical tables were in place, and they did their drills every week — they were ready,” she added.

After the tunnels collapsed and two fires had burnt through them, a university team came to Mount Isa to reconstruct the hospital and, using wartime photos, replicate its original layout.

Now, tourists can walk through and see the incredible sight of an entire hospital system sitting in the side of a hill.


The hospital is full of historically accurate furnishings. (ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

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