Once an important uranium mining centre, Mary Kathleen was 1,000
people strong until the mid 1970s. Now its an eerie set of roads with
concrete slabs at the end of drive ways and encroaching grass. The
remains of the town is now on private property. A few remnants were
rescued and are on display at the Memorial Park and Museum in
McIlwraith St, Cloncurry.
Location: 55 km from Mt. Isa; 62 km from Cloncurry.
Places of interest: Mary Kathleen mine site; Fountain Range (20 km
south); The town mine treatment plant; Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and
Museum in Cloncurry. A sign at the entry to the museum recalls the
town's former glory.
Origin of name: The uranium deposits here were discovered by Walton
and McConachy in 1954. The town was later named after the wife of
Walton, Mary Kathleen Walton, who had died a couple of weeks prior to
the discovery. The town named by the Surveyor-General in May 1956.
View Larger Map
Ppastoralists had settled in the area in the 1860s, but it was not
until 1954 that uranium was discovered. Within four years a model town
and a mine were built to service a contract with the UK Atomic Energy
Authority. Between 1958 and 1963 a total of 4,500 tonnes of uranium
were produced. A world oversupply of uranium led to the mine lying idle
until 1974, but it closed again within two years. In 1983 everything in
the town from the houses to the public buildings and the equipment was
put up for auction.