Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 06:57
ThreadID: 97141 Views:4075 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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Kuridala, was a copper and gold mining town 70 km south of Cloncurry in western Queensland. Situated in the Cloncurry Shire, Kuridala was in the northern foothills of the Selwyn Range where numerous ore deposits were discovered as early as 1884.
The town was first known as Gulatten, then Hampden, then Friezland. but anti-German sentiment during World War I prompted a further change. Kuridala was chosen, an Aboriginal word thought to describe the eagle hawk.
In 1916 it became known as Kuridala

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The Hampden copper deposit (the future site of Kuridala) was acquired by a Melbourne syndicate in 1897, and by 1905 world copper prices had climbed sufficiently to warrant exploitation. The railway system reached Cloncurry in 1908 and a 70 km southwards extension was needed to carry Hampden's copper to Cloncurry. Funds from the mining syndicate and the government paid for the extension line, which opened in 1910.
As early as 1913 Friezland had 1500 people. There were six hotels, an ice works, a printery, several storekeepers and tradespeople, a hospital, Anglican and Presbyterian churches, a school of arts and a primary school. Wartime demand kept world copper prices elevated and the town buoyant, reaching its zenith in 1918. At this time Kuridala's school had a daily attendance of 280 children. Chinese market gardeners kept the town supplied with fresh victuals, while the smelters worked around the clock, lighting up the night sky.

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In 1920 world copper prices collapsed, extinguishing the smelters and Kuridala's prospects. By the following year the population had halved to 774. Pugh's Directory records that five hotels were still afloat in 1924, but decline was unabated and the end inevitable. The hospital, picture theatre and court house were pulled down and erected in the new mining town at Mount Isa, the ice works following close behind. The 1933 cencus counted just 64 people in 1933, mostly tributors who mined high-grade ore.

The train line, extended south to Selwyn and serviced by optimistic spurs to promising deposits, was lightly trafficked until closure in 1961. Kuridala's surviving features are a cemetery and the remains of a smelter. According to Queensland Archives the school closed in 1935.

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Reply By: J & Me - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 08:45

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 08:45
Thanks Doug

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:18

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:18
Thank you for another good read Doug.

We explored Kuridala last year. Fascinating area with rusting evidence of the blood sweat and tears that must have been shed there in the past. At the overgrown cemetery we found a listing of those buried there and how they came to die - so many young kids, so many mining accidents - a tough life. A few current photos towards the end of our blog here.

Cheers

John
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - blackbird1937 - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:45

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:45
Thanks for the blog and good photos of the area . As you have stated a tough area like all mining areas up until recent times . Many mine accidents as well as deaths of children and females . We have a lot to thank modern medicine for . Vern .
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Reply By: Member - blackbird1937 - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:32

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:32
Hi Doug . Another sunday interesting history post . I was in the Selwyn ranges two years ago on a Burke & Wills 150 year anniversary trip and had no idea that a town as big as that had existed in the area . It is a rugged range so no wonder Burke & Wills had trouble getting the camels through the ranges . Doug - I hope you keep up your interesting posts . Vern
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Reply By: Member - RockyOne - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:57

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 09:57
Ripper article with great quality pix for the era, so glad Dusty and you had some great times together. I shudder to think of the lunar landscape of now useless country all this open cut mining in our areas is leaving for history. We should be taking more photos of the before as it won't last for long. However, the after ones will be forever.
AnswerID: 491864

Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 13:00

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012 at 13:00
Good one Doug,

Brings back memories of me filling a barrel from a windmill and tank at Kuridala.

Voice comes out of the blue with "I hope your not going to drink that as I don't know how that water doesn't kill my cattle. It was old Jim McDonald who just came out of know where.

For a man who is one of the biggest landholders in Australia he is a true gentleman. He grew up in that country and I know he was still had a drivers licence at 100 years old and was still driving.

Here are a couple of photos.

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AnswerID: 491868

Reply By: Outbacktourer - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:42

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:42
Great thread Doug. I've scoured the area due to a family connection. The bloke in the horse below is my G-Grandfather. His Son is crouching closest to him (my Great Uncle). The older bloke we think is in the Cemetery unmarked.

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