The remnants of the Kuridala mine and township rest at the foot of the Selwyn Ranges in northwest Queensland and paint a picture of mining life in an inhospitable environment.
The town of Cloncurry lies 70km north and once claimed to have recorded the highest temperature in Australia (now disputed). Regardless of the record books, this district remains a hot and difficult region to inhabit with blistering summer temperatures offset by monsoonal style rainfall that closes roads and isolates communities. The terrain is typical of northern Australian mining regions - being rugged, rocky and difficult to navigate.
Originally named 'Friezland' the mines gave up large quantities of valuable copper and the town boasted six hotels, schools, churches, two ice works and various stores and government and ancillary services. Up to 2000 people lived in Kuridala (whose named was changed due to anti-German sentiment in World War 1) which eventually established it's own railway siding to carry away the ore.
Copper was discovered as early as 1884 and high prices in the early 1900's helped develop the town, which endured cyclones, devastating mine fires and a fluctuating commodities market. By 1920 poor copper prices and dwindling ore quality saw Kuridala begin to decline and by 1921 the population had halved.
Unlike many other abandoned mining towns, Kuridala has managed to preserve some of the mining infrastructure and the towns basic foundations. One of the largest pioneer cemeteries in North Queensland remains, albeit neglected and overgrown, and the headstones paint a picture of mining casualties, childhood deaths and a lifespan that seemed difficult to surpass about 56 years of age.
This article is part of a project to record the history of ghost towns in Australia. If you can contribute any information about any of Australia's abandoned towns please use the 'CONTACTUS' link at the top of the page to send us an email.
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