The Ghost Town – Mary Kathleen

It is interesting that a ghost town can take on a life of its own even though there is nothing there. Mary Kathleen in the Cloncurry Mineral fields, in my opinion, is one of these. Grey Nomads have made it a camping area. The owner of the land allows this as long as there are no open fires lit. The old town site now only consists of concrete slabs and roadways. Apart from the nomads that camp it is home to a herd of cattle.image


Mary Kathleen is located in the Cloncurry Mineral Fields about 56km due east of Mount ISA on the Barkly/Flinders Highway. The turn off is on the left is partly sealed and slowly deteriorating. Even though the buildings of the township no longer stand, the roadways and concrete slabs of once existing buildings still remain. It was once a thriving community of 1000 people in what was considered a very tranquil picturesque area.

The discovery of ore was the result of some three months of intensive prospecting by a syndicate of eight ,headed by Messrs Clem Walton and Norm McConachy in 1954. It was by chance that the syndicate discovered the ore body. By pushing a theory that uranium was present uncertain rock formations close to Cloncurry several Of their expeditions led them to the Mary Kathleen area. During one of these expeditions at ruck broke down in a dry creek bed and while waiting for it to be repaired one of the syndicate members switched on his Geiger counter, which immediately gave higher than normal background readings.

In July 1954, two days after the discovery ,the leases were pegged out and the deposit named Mary Kathleen  in memory of Mr McConachy’s wife who had died a short time before the discovery.

In late 1983 the contract for uranium oxide was filled and it was decided to close the mine and disband the township due to the oversupply of uranium on the world market. Operations ceased in 1984 and the township auctioned off.