History in the making

FINAL EDIT: Bret Currie and Kim Maree Burton review the cover for her book Whispers Through the Spinifex. Photo: Derek Barry
FINAL EDIT: Bret Currie and Kim Maree Burton review the cover for her book Whispers Through the Spinifex. Photo: Derek Barry

The new book on the history of Mount Isa will be launched next week.

Kim-Maree Burton’s “Whispers Through the Spinifex: Memories of Mount Isa in the Making” will be launched on the lawns of the Mount Isa Civic Centre on Thursday, February 23 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

The book is a compendium of Ms Burton’s history articles for the North West Star and she said she wanted it to be a community event with free entertainment on offer on the launch evening.

These include a static display of 200 historical photographs of the making of Mount Isa, old cine sound news reels and film clips of Mount Isa’s defining moments, a welcome to country, a smoking ceremony and Indigenous dancing.

Ms Burton is currently putting together the final touches for the book including a special designed cartoon by North West Star cartoonish Bret Currie.

Mr Currie is a professional cartoonist living and working in Mount Isa.

For more than 35 years he has drawn cartoons for some of Australia’s leading fishing and outdoor magazines.

He first started contributing cartoons to the North West Star newspaper in 1994 and continues to do so today.

Invited by Kim-Maree to design the cover of her book, Bret immediately had in mind the idiosyncratic families who arrived in town looking for work, stayed to start families, and helped to build their home in Mount Isa.

In 1997, Bret created a cartoon strip called ‘Barra Country’, which ran in the North West Star, North Queensland Fish and Boat, and Northern Territory newspapers for seven years and continues to be published in the Queensland Fishing Monthly.

Bret specialises in cartoon caricatures, a number of which adorn the walls of homes and offices in several countries; but much of his work is for the Mount Isa district.

For Bret, Mount Isa is a cartoonist’s dream.

“The city is full of characters, we have a captive audience, and everyone seems to have an opinion,” he said.

He said he gets good feedback on the success or otherwise of the cartoons from his workmates at the mine.

“Miners are very to the point; if they don’t agree, they’ll tell me straight,” he said.