The progressive city of Mount Isa is the most important industrial, commercial and administrative centre in Outback Queensland, the second largest state or territory in Australia. Situated 977 kilometres west of Townsville, Mount Isa is an important railhead; has an airport with facilities for Jets and is a key road hub for the extensive system of highways linking Brisbane, Townsville, Alice Springs and Darwin.
Mount Isa began as a mining town, following the discovery of substantial deposits of lead in 1923. It is now one of the world’s top ten producers of copper, silver, lead and zinc. Development has kept pace as prosperity increased. Apart from mining, the gulf region’s major industry is beef cattle grazing. Beef roads, which service the northern Gulf properties, converge on Mount Isa which is also an important retail service centre for the surrounding pastoral towns and properties.
The city has grown to be a modern, well-appointed centre of 23,000 people. It is a very cosmopolitan place, with 56 different national origins living and working together in harmony.
In August 2003 Outback at Isa opened its doors to visitors in the heart of Mount Isa. The Tourism Centre provides an array of exciting tours, activities, and attractions. The construction of Outback at Isa, and in particular the Hard Times Mine, was prompted by the closure of the Mount Isa Mines (MIM) underground tour in 2002. Visitors were still seeking an underground experience to know more about the history of Mount Isa. Outback at Isa and Hard Times Mine was the vision of the former Mayor of Mount Isa City Council (MICC) Ron McCullough and his Council. The Queensland Heritage Trails Network program with Queensland and Commonwealth Government funding, partnered with MICC and numerous generous corporate sponsors to fund the project and to proceed and after considerable toil and effort on the part of an army of volunteers, contractors, businesses and all tiers of government the project was completed.
Outback at Isa operates the Mount Isa region’s accredited Visitor Information Centre (VIC), providing vital tourism information on Mount Isa and the region in a welcoming and friendly manner – the VIC has become either first point of call for visitors arriving from the Northern Territory to explore Queensland or last point of contact for those leaving Queensland to visit the Territory.