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Mount Morgan
Queensland
Morgan Street, Mount Morgan.jpg
Mount Morgan's Central Business District
Population 2,115 (2011 census)
Established 1882
Postcode(s) 4714
Location
LGA(s) Rockhampton Regional Council
State electorate(s) Mirani
Federal Division(s) Flynn

Mount Morgan is a town located in central Queensland, Australia. The town was the administrative centre of the Mount Morgan Shire until March 2008, when it was amalgamated with neighbouring local government areas to form the Rockhampton Region. In the 2011 census, Mount Morgan had a population of 2,115 people.

Geography

The town of Mount Morgan is situated on the Dee River, 38 kilometres (24 mi) south of the city of Rockhampton, and is 680 kilometres (420 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. The Burnett Highway passes through the town.

History

StateLibQld 2 237174 View of the town of Mount Morgan and the mine beyond
View of the town of Mount Morgan and the mine beyond from the Queensland National Hotel
Mountmorganmuseum
Mount Morgan Museum, 2004
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Mount Morgan, 1907
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1907

Mount Morgan was founded as a gold mining town in 1882, and over time the Mount Morgan Mine has produced gold, silver and copper. Among those making a fortune from this mine was William Knox D'Arcy. D'Arcy used his fortune to finance oil exploration in Iran, which led to the formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now BP).

Mount Morgan Post Office opened on 18 May 1885 (a receiving office had been open from 1884).

Mount Morgan Central State School opened in 1887 and grew so rapidly that it was separated into two schools on different sites the following year, forming Mount Morgan Boys State School and Mount Morgan Girls and Infants State School. The word 'Central' was added to the name of these two schools from 1911. They were amalgamated back into one school in 1929. With the growth of the town during the boom years other state schools opened and operated, some for many years in close proximity. These included the Red Hill State School, Walterhall State School, and Calliungal North State School. Mount Morgan State High School was the first school of its kind to open in Queensland in 1912.

The town of Mount Morgan grew in a haphazard fashion around the entrance to the mining lease near the Dee River from the early 1880s. By 1889 a number of the major religions had established congregations and erected churches including the Primitive Methodists (1885), the Catholics (1887) and the Anglicans (1889). That year the town's name was formally changed from 'South Calliungal' to 'Mount Morgan', and by 1891 the Queensland census recorded a population of 3514.

Arhs mount morgan
A rack train climbs towards Mount Morgan

The railway link between Mount Morgan and Rockhampton was not built until 1898. Until that time, everything was transported by horse teams. The Mount Morgan Mining Company had a depot in Quay Street, where the wagoners would load up. Initially there were two routes to Rockhampton, one via Crocodile (now Bouldercombe) and the other via Kabra, Boongarry and Moonmera. In 1885, a road was built over the Razorback Range.

Mt morgan2005
Mount Morgan minesite, 2005

The Mount Morgan Mine finally closed in 1981, having produced vast quantities of gold during its lifetime. During the mining operation, most of the mountain was mined away, and the town now lies adjacent to a 43 m deep acid-water filled pit. Mining companies still prospect today in the area, and plans to extract further gold from tailings at the mine site are always under development. The Queensland Government, through its Department of Natural Resources Mines and Water have begun a rehabilitation project of the minesite.

At the 2006 census, Mount Morgan had a population of 2,447.

Heritage listings

Mount Morgan has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Burnett Highway: Mount Morgan Mine
  • 39 Central Street: Grand Hotel
  • East Street: Mount Morgan Cemetery
  • 2 Gordon Street: Mount Morgan Masonic Temple
  • 11 Gordon Street: St Mary's Anglican Church
  • 28 Hall Street: Court House and Police Station
  • Morgan Street: Coronation Lamp War Memorial
  • 28 Morgan Street: Queensland National Hotel
  • 31 Morgan Street: Mount Morgan School of Arts
  • 38 Morgan Street: Commonwealth Bank Building
  • 44 Morgan Street: Mount Morgan Central State School
  • Railway Parade: Mount Morgan railway station
  • Westwood/Oakey Creek: Adolphus William Copper Smelter

Tourism

Mt Morgan Panorama Feb 2008 - bobzy
Panoramic Shot of Mount Morgan, 2008

Tourism plays a large part in the economy of the town today. A number of historic buildings still exist in the town, and tourists can take excursions to the remains of the mine. The area was host to one of the few rack railways (as part of the line from Mount Morgan to Rockhampton) to operate in Australia. The rack portion of the line was replaced by a conventional adhesion railway in the 1950s. In turn, the replacement line was closed in 1987, and the town no longer has a rail connection. The Mount Morgan railway station is still standing and now operates as a Museum and Tourist Information Centre. There is a regular bus service between Rockhampton, Gracemere and Mount Morgan provided by Young's Bus Service.

Events

Mount Morgan is known to hold the Golden Mount Festival in the main street at the end of April or the start of May as part of the Labour Day holiday. The festival usually starts on a Friday and finishes the next Monday. The Morgan Street is closed to vehicles during Saturday of the Festival for the day for markets and activities such as floats and "Running the Cutter" races.

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