A WOMAN by the name of Liza Dowler moved to Mount Isa 10 years ago to work as the local manager of OfficeMax.
She had been based in the Darling Downs having worked for Woolworths for 17 years, but sought a reprieve from the “military style" leadership set at the time. But when Ms Dowler landed at the Mount Isa Airport on that day in March, 2007, with three suitcases, she thought; “Oh my God, what have I done?”
As is almost traditional for the Isa newcomer, Ms Dowler was picked up at the airport by a colleague. And on the drive on the Barkly Highway with the mine seeming to loom over her, the colleague asked; “so, what do you think?”
The furthest west that Ms Dowler had been before that day was Roma. And at the time the stretch of the Barkly Highway coming into town had many rundown buildings, and it was dry and dusty. Undoubtedly she wondered if her five year plan to remain in Mount Isa would last.
Her first six months in Mount Isa were described “extremely lonely” as she focused on doing well in her new role. And then a change happened. Ms Dowler joined the Zonta Club to follow the footsteps of the business owner’s heavy involvement in the community group. And she grew attached to the people.
Her mother followed her to Mount Isa, and then at a night out at the Buffs Club Ms Dowler met her partner Neill Carlsen. He was introduced among a group of people and so she could not at first recall him when he came by her house six months later to fix her television after a suggestion by a mutual friend.
Mr Carlsen moved with his parents in his early childhood and eventually worked at the mines,having completed an apprenticeship in electrical instrumentation, and then worked at Incitec Pivot. He currently works at George Fisher.
The business Ms Dowler worked at closed its doors in Mount Isa, making its employees redundant. By then Ms Dowler loved Mount Isa and in November, 2014, started a women’s clothing store; Isa Styles.
Late in 2015 the struggling Lions Club was about to close in Mount Isa when a last ditch effort to revitalise the service group attracted Ms Dowler and Mr Carlsen to a meeting. The aim was to form a new committee. Ms Dowler became the president of the service group but believed someone else, eventually made redundant, would be more suited to the position.
“I was just scared we weren’t going to get it happening,” Ms Dowler said. The local branch of Lions has just celebrated the one year milestone since its reformation and is still seeking more volunteers. Any time given was valued.