Fifty-year Golden Jubilee of Mount Isa's Royal visit

The year 2020 marks 50 years since Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Mount Isa Mines and our local community during their Australian tour.

Like many VIPs before them, The Queen and Prince Philip stayed at Mount Isa Mines' heritage listed Casa Grande, originally built in 1949 as an executive villa.

A suite in the home was completely redecorated and refurbished especially for the Queen – a theme present across the entire mining lease and city – as tradesmen, painters, gardeners and cleaners went to work in preparation for this most remarkable occasion.

During their visit The Queen and Prince Philip toured Mount Isa Mines, talking to executive management, tradesmen and apprentices alike. Employees at the time were humbled by how intrigued they were, expressing genuine interest and asking numerous questions.

Prince Philip was also treated to a tour of our underground operations, something he had asked specifically to do.

The Queen being greeted at Mount Isa Mines.
The then Mount Isa Mines Main Office fit for the Royal Visit.
Her Royal Highness talking to workers in front of the Mines Power Station.
Rail Track Air Operated EIMCO Air Shovel being Demonstrated to the Royals.

To cap off the mining tour they spent the afternoon visiting the company's $1.5 million flat project named the Parkside Apartments, a significant project in strengthening the sustainability of our workforce even today.

During the two-day Royal visit, there was much fanfare within the community, with the town decorated with all the regalia fit for the Monarch with several special events and ceremonies held in celebration.

More than 20,000 people across the north-west flocked to North-West 70, in the hopes of crossing paths with the Royal couple. North-West 70 was an exhibition event showcasing some of Mount Isa's finest offerings, including heavy mining equipment, mining and trades floats and even a mini rodeo featuring six of Australia's top rodeo riders of the time.

Prince Philip visited the underground operations with then Mine Manager Ken Finlay.
Prince Phillip catching the R62 cage underground.
Underground haulage operations being explained to The Queen at the R62 Marshalling Area.
Crowds gather at the Former No. 3 Ambulance Station at the Copper Smelter.

Before leaving Mount Isa they Royal pair met with around 6,000 school children from across the region, more than 5,000 of which are said to have travelled via road, train and air to be there.

Fond memories of the brief regal visit have been firmly etched in the minds of many Mount Isa locals.

Read the original story featured in Mimag Vol. 2, No. 2 (June 1970).

Special thanks to our friendly local historian Barry Merrick for the careful curation of the Mount Isa Mines historical image collection.

The Royal couple visit Mount Isa Mines’ employee accommodation, the Parkside Flats.
Media interviewing a Parkside resident in anticipation for the the Royal visit.
Media interviewing a Parkside resident in anticipation for the the Royal visit.
Prince Phillip underground.