Old Mine Towns.
To hot to look for Gemstones, we went exploring Old Mine Towns. Thomas Died on 15/02/1912, he was from England (click on the picture to make it larger).
On valentine’s day 2016, we went for a drive, for something to do. We both like the open country side, Made a picnic lunch, lots of drinks . The temperature was going to get up around 42 degrees, so we were not going to be able to do much gem hunting.
We started out at 7am. McDonalds was our first stop for coffee and hash browns. Left Mount Isa and headed towards Cloncurry, The turn off is nearly half way between towns. 58 kl east of Mount Isa And 60 kl west of Cloncurry. Next to the turn off, on the other side off the road ,there is a camping ground. In the winter month it is full off caravans. Free Camping. Summer months no one camps.
Rosebud Station- sign when you go over the grid This road takes you to Fountain Springs. This road was used when they filming the movie Crocodile Dundee. The road is dirt and it is around 26 kl, 4 wheel drive country. lots off wash out, along the road. The copper prices are low, so there no mining companies working out this way a the moment, so the roads are not getting graded. Do not go on this road, if it is going to rain.
This area has had a fair bit of rain this season, so we thought that the springs, water would be flowing down the mountain, at least wash out the creek, nice and clean water. No sign of water. There were people camping in the creek, so there was no water to be seen. The waterfall was not to be seen , the whole area is really over grown, not nice at all. We did not stop at Fountain Springs.
About Fountain Springs. I have not seen the falls flowing. I have only seen water seeping out of the hill, lower down. Fountain Springs( was) is the main waterhole for the station owners and mines in the area, Plus the animals. A Huge gash in the Fountain Range marks the entrance to Fountain Springs. This is where a geological faultline allows the watertable to come to the surface, providing a year round spring. Very nice place when we have a lot of rain.
Highville: We took the first turn to the left on our way back from Fountain Springs. At the start of the track there is a sign post about the area. This track takes you along a creek bed. There is a big stone-cement walls along the creek bed, how much work went into it and it is still standing today. This track is for 4 wheel drives only. There was no creek crossing with boggy conditions because we have not had enough rain, just slow driving over very rocky country roads.. Along the way there is evidence of a railway track. Highville Cemetery we stop and had a look around and took pictures. Lots of big pieces of mica lying around every where.
Highville was established in 1913 as working quarters for the Wee MacGregor Mine the other side of the ranges. The town was connected to Ballara by 2′ gauge tram line. The MacGregor Hotel and post office operated in the town from 1909 to 1914. A school also operated here and catered for the children of both Highville and Ballara. Ballara water supply came from Fountain Springs
Next stop on our way up to the Wee MacGregor Mine was Ballara Cemetery. Local Councils have put sign up. The town of Ballara was established in 1913, After originally being named “mineral” Ballara was located on the railway line from Malbon in the south to the Wee MacGregor mine in the mountains to the north.(.Malbon town is still there. It has a railway line, a couple of houses, and a phone box, in the only street through the town.)The last train pulled into Ballara in 1927, soon after, the rail line was dismantled due to a decline in copper prices.
The track up the hill to the tunnel has ( road is marked with red poles) some very bad washout, slow driving big drop off, The car tilts to 20 degrees plus in some spots. It is mountain country
Look down , lock out, what a beautiful sight. My partner jokes about if he had to turn around on this road, but them we came to a open spot on the hill (mountain) where you could turn around. We were not at Wee MacGregor mine, we were at the tunnel above the mine. There was bats in the tunnel , I did not go through, On the other side of the tunnel you look down on what used to be the Wee MacGregor, over the years it has open up a number of times. there used to be a road around to the mine, but it just to rough now days, even for a four wheel drives because, it is all mountains rock country.
Update 2019, there is a mining company working in the area and you can drive to Wee MacGregor Mine the road has been graded.
The tunnel is the only railway tunnel in the north west of Queensland. to see it ,to think, how they did it, The stone work-cement work. Picture on right is the men working on the tunnel in the old days.
Wee MacGregor Mine. You can still get there, by going different ways. You can go around the hills and come out at Cattle yards. Do not follow directions to turn of 48kl out of Mount Isa, the Mount Frosty Road. (Picture On top of this page is Mt Frosty water hole all dried up). This road is for 4 wheel drivers only, there is very rough spots. 2019 yes. (Gutsack hill ) is very rough, We have heard of people freezing because this hill is very rough.Lotsof wash outs, and big holes.
Overall it was a very nice day out, with my better half. The only stones we picked up was some mica (big Pieces). There was a lot of coloured glass lying around.
This is my story about exploring old mines.in 2016. I will add to it another time if you want to go to Wee Mac Gregor mine or look for Maltese Cross, Crystals, and more gemstones. Leave a comment, and I will get back to you
Make sure you zoom in on the pictures. And have a look at some other picture in the image post. Have a nice day.
Please leave me a comment and share this page. Do you know who Thomas is, and how he got to Australia in the early 1900.
The road to Wee MacGregor mine has been graded. (Fountain springs) going the back way, is not as rough. Explore the old mine towns and the tunnel, follow the signs. Right will take you up to the tunnel, Left will take you to the old mine Wee MacGregor.
Bye For now.
Happy and Safe Exploring.