An historic, somewhat eccentric place that is one of the most
charming mining towns in Australia. Rising and falling over the hills
and valleys, Mt Morgan is full of wooden houses and a history reaching
back to the late 19th century.
Where is it?: Mount Morgan is 679 km north of Brisbane; 38 km west of Rockhampton; 240 m above sea-level.
Things to see and do
Mount Morgan's rich and fascinating social, economic and engineering
history is on display at two of Mount Morgan's cherished local
institutions, Mount Morgan Historical Museum and Mount Morgan Railway
Museum (1898). The latter operates as the visitors' centre and is the
departure point for rail tours. The museum operates fettlers' trolley
rides on market days.
The Mount Morgan old mine site is home to a stunning display of
decaying industrial architecture, magnificent man made caverns, Michael
Durrant's wonderful world of fossils display, 200 million year old
Dinosaur Prints, rare bats and one of the world's major mine
rehabilitation projects dedicated to removing the beautiful but deadly
acidic lake that now lies where the world's richest mountain once
stood. The assay chimney, the manager's house, the treatment plant and
the mine offices are all of historical significance.
In the 1890's there were six pedestrian suspension bridges (sometimes
referred to as swinging bridges) constructed over the Dee River to give
pedestrians easy access between the mine and township, especially when
the river was flowing.Sadly today, no originals remain. A replica was
built however in 2002, and is located along Byrnes Parade.
On the corner of Central St and Morgan St is a statue titled 'Running
the Cutter' which recalls the interesting custom of buying beer in
billy cans, commonplace at the mine between 1900 and 1918.
In the 1890's there were six pedestrian suspension bridges
(sometimes referred to as swinging bridges) constructed over the Dee
River to give pedestrians easy access to the mine and town, especially
when the river was flowing. These suspension bridges were constructed
with a wooden decking suspended by two long steel cables reaching
across the river from one bank to the other. At each end the cables
passed over a head-frame and were anchored to the banks.
The Tipperary Point to Red Hill Suspension Bridge and the Far Red Hill
Suspension Bridge are the only two suspension bridges in existence in
Mount Morgan today and it is believed that they are the only pedestrian
suspension bridges in Queensland.These two bridges were classified by
the National Trust of Queensland in 1974 and were listed by the
Australian National Heritage in 1977.
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About Mount Morgan
Home to one of the world's richest gold discoveries, Mount Morgan's
history is a quintessentially Australian story. The town's grand
buildings, swinging bridges, museums, massive man made caverns dug out
by the early miners and uncovered Jurassic dinosaur footprints all
combine to make a visit to this charming place a totally unique
The town borrows its name from Mount Morgan nearby, also known as
Ironstone Mountain. The name recalls Frederick, Edwin (Ned) and Thomas
Morgan who, on 22nd July 1882, pegged out a goldmining lease on
Ironstone Mountain. At the time of their claim the Morgan brothers were
all living in Rockhampton.
In the 1850s, a local stockman, William Mackinlay, discovered that
the Ironstone Mountain was gold-bearing around 1870 but kept his
discovery secret, hoping to sell his knowledge. Mining began at Mount
Morgan in 1882 when the Morgan brothers pegged out atheir gold mining
lease. The Morgans formed a six man partnership with other local
businessmen to mine the mountain and they all became fabulously rich.
One of the partners was William Knox D'Arcy, who, with the profit he
made from selling his share in the mine, went to London and later made
another fortune when he financed drilling for oil in Persia (modern day
Iran) This led to the formation of the famous oil company, British
Mt Morgan was officially proclaimed in 1890 and in 1898 the railway
reached the town. By 1902 gold, silver and copper were being mined. In
the 1970s, the mine's production of copper was second only to that of
Mount Isa. The result of the mining activity is that what was once a
large mountain is now one of the largest artificial holes on earth. It
is over 2.5 km long and over 300 m deep. In a century the mine has
produced more than 5 million oz of gold, more than 150,000 tonnes of
copper, along with zing, lead and silver. The mine closed in 1981 with
activities since then concentrating on extracting ore from the tailings.