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.


The Wet Area

Our intentions are to follow the coast road down through Queensland and then go inland around Coffs Harbour. The best thing about this trip is that there is no fixed route or timeframe, we can really please ourselves.
Leaving Murdering Point, we came to the town of Tully , which along with Babinda and Innisfail vie for the title Wettest Place in Australia.


Tully claimed the title with a record rainfall of 7,900mm in 1950. The average ain’t all here is around 4490mm. According to records the most rain to fall in Tully in a48 hour period is 52 inches. Just one more fact about the rain in this area, Tully experiences 150 days of rain a year.

For all of this Tully services clubs erected the Golden Gumboot.

We especially enjoyed this poem which appears on an information board. I think it captures that wry Australian humour. It was written by Frank Dodsworth of Ingham in 1991.

How Tully became the wettest place in Australia

or “A Possums Tale”

This is a story from long ago,
Of a far North Queensland town,
Where the iron roofs drummed with a mighty roar,
As the rain came tumbling down.

The moisture o’er fair Tully hung
Like a grey hued soggy sheet,
And the locals marked their rain gauge scales,
Not in inches but in feet.

Now, the Tullyites were bits of skites,
They all felt the feet tall,
And would often boast that their slice of the coast,
Was the wettest place of all.

They would point I proof to the Post Office roof,
And the rain gauge there displayed,which day by day, in a definite way,
Gave strength to the claim they made.

Now excellence, as most would know,
Is oft its own reward,
But,sad to say, a nearby town,
Did query this award

They even sent their agents in,
On days most dark and drear,
To check the rainfall of the day,
With all the latest gear.

As time went by their deep defeat,
Was turned to baffled rage,
For yen ever got in cooee of
That old Post Office gauge.

For in this roof of which we speak,
As down the rain did pelt,
Safe and warm beneath the eaves,
A secret weapon dwelt.

‘Twas a possum of the Irish sort,
Or so it tried to claim,
But in truth ’twas but a normal one,
With an “o” before its name.

Now on those soggy summer nights,
When harsh the weather equalled,
What steps did this poor possum take,
Those time when nature called.

Down below the sodden ground,
Had turned as if to glue,
While close at hand the rain gauge gaped,
Well – what would a possum do.

With what occurred from that point on,
Let us not these pages sully,
Suffice to say, what e’er it did,

Murdering Point


The name itself is intriguing, but even better is that there is a winery located here. The wines produced here are not your normal variety of shiraz or chardonnay, rather the wines is produced from native and exotic fruits such as Black sapote, mango, Lemon aspen,and lychee. Best that we detour and try some of their produce.

The winery produces some red and white fruit wine, but of particular interest to us was the port and the “cream” wines. The girls behind the bar led us on a comprehensive tasting of the complete catalogue. Their newest product was a banana cream. Very nice indeed.

If you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit.

AS intriguing as the wine is the story behind the name. On a wall in the tasting room is an explanation. The history of Far North Queensland, especially around this area, indicates that some of the aboriginal tribes were  cannibals.

The name Murdering Point originates from a shipwreck that occurred on inshore King Reef only a few hundred metres from the coast of Kurrimine Beach in 1878. King Reef was the undoing of a number of sailing ships that  tried to use a difficult passage through the reef to the beach.

The ship, the “Riser” ran aground on the King Reef and was being broken up by heavy seas. A full account of the wreck of the “Riser” and the history of Murdering Point is available to be viewed at the Murdering Point Winery cellar door,which is located on Murdering Point Road, the main access road to Kurrimine Beach.

Winton and Arno’s Wall

This park behind the North Gregory Hotel contains Arno’s wall. This modern wonder of art and architecture contains almost every household item you could imagine. There is everything from motorbikes to the kitchen sink.




















Apparently one of Arno’s relatives fought along side Lalor at the Eureka Stockade. This inspired Arno’s version of a new Australian flag.