Two women have reflected on the ‘good old days’ of growing up in Mount Isa.
Patricia Poore and Valerie Dalton were both born in 1944, went to the same school and lived in houses situated close together.
Patricia and Valerie and some of their Mount Isa school friends have stayed in touch, despite moving to different locations.
Patricia was born on Simpson Street and later moved to Barkley Highway.
Valerie grew up in a brick cottage around the corner from Patricia.
Both Valerie and Patricia attended St Joseph's Catholic School.
Valerie’s family members used to sit outside on stretches, as it was often too hot to be inside.
She remembers big cows with horns used to frequently visit the property.
One day Valerie’s mother got the gun out, when she mistakenly mistook a cow for a burglar trying to break in.
Dancing in Mount Isa
When Patricia and Helen were growing up they remember celebrating May Day, or Labor Day as it is known.
May Day was the one day of the year - that brought the community together to celebrate and highlight the ‘working men and women’ who built the city through their blood, sweat and tears.
Over the years, May Day celebrations in Mount Isa have ebbed and flowed along with the economic highs and lows of Mount Isa Mines, but always the emphasis has been on workers and their families.
Patricia remembers May Day was always a massive celebration, where school children came together to participate in activities and dance around the May Pole.
The young girls held different coloured ribbons and as they danced the ribbons would be weaved together around the pole.
Patricia and Valerie were both in grade six in 1956 and were part of the May Pole Dance.
“We were definitely not that graceful,” Valerie said.
Valerie remembers the painful blisters she would get from her shoes while dancing.
Patricia met her husband of 52 years at a dance in Mount Isa.
“No one ever missed the dances on a Friday,” she said.
The couple married and have three sons.
Valerie said children did some ‘amazing things’ growing up, as they had so much freedom.
She said a group of children would take a bottle of water and a piece of fruit down to the creek, to play around and wait for a train to come.
“When we heard that a train was coming we would climb up a tree and get underneath the bridge,” she said.
“We would hold onto the rafters of the bridge, so that when the train came overhead it would blow steam in our faces.”
Unfortunately some children ended up injured from this particular venture.
“They would go home and tell their parents they had broken their arm by falling out of a tree,” Valerie said.
It was a time, Valerie said, when kids made their own fun.
Both of the ladies said the mining work never impacted on the enjoyment of their childhood.
“I grew up there when the smelters would drop fumes all over the area,” Valerie said.
“One of our homes was in the leaded area near the railway station.
“I have suffered no ill effects today and I am aged in my 70s,”
Valerie said they used to play on slag heaps and swam in creeks.
Patricia said if the fumes every got too much they would just shut all the windows.
Staying in touch
Over the years Valerie, Patricia and their childhood friends have kept in close contact.
Valerie said they often still meet up to reflect on the good times.
“None of them except for Pat are on Facebook,” she said.
“We just call each other up to have a chat.”
Valerie said while she is sure there have been fights between the friends over the years, they have not been major.
“We accept each other the way we are,” she said.