While a community's body and soul is it's people, it is the streets which act as the skeleton holding within them its economic, residential and recreational activities.
Have you ever wondered how your street gained its name?
Or why your suburb is so named?
Have you ever wondered how your street was named or who it was named after?
Why is your suburb called Happy Valley, Townview or Soldiers Hill?
Where is Mineside that you hear locals talk about?
As John Campbell Miles' campsite quickly grew into a community of gougers, miners, and opportunists, so too did the town of Mount Isa necessitating the need for identification of where folk resided.
No longer could Joe Blow be identified by living under the humpy down by the southern water hole or Mary Lou and family camped at the bottom of the north gap hill.
And so, the town grew not as one central part, as we know it today, but as two sections colloquially known as Mineside and Town Side straddling the railway line and an outcrop of the Selwyn Range where the mine was established.
If you lived on the Mineside, it was a given that your Dad worked 'for' the mine.
However, if you lived on the Townside, then it was a two-way bet that your Dad either worked in the mines or he was a Townie working in the private sector.
Mineside was once a thriving oasis community full of trees and bougainvillea of riotous colour.
Oban Road with one of the oldest names continues to be a passageway into streets such as Nettle, Rosalie, Spruce and Quandong; long gone are others named School Road and Pendine Street to name but two.
As the mine grew so too did Town Side; extending north and south along the Leichhardt River at the demise of Mineside which was demolished to allow for the mining expansion.
In late 1924 Mrs Glendenning opened the first shop on the Town Side along what later became known as Marian Street (roughly in the vicinity of Kmart Plaza).
She set down under a relatively shady tree and put up a roughly hewn structure of hessian bags, bowers and a clean dirt floor from which she sold 'chilled' drinks and tin food.
Her plot of land was not encumbered by street identification until a couple of years later when Marian Street was named.
During those early years there was little structured lanes or streets let alone roads as the townspeople generally had little faith in the longevity of the company.
But with the phenomenal price of lead and the exploitation of the copper deposits, a more orderly layout was established.
Early on the Cloncurry Shire Council named Camooweal Street (not to be confused with Camooweal Road aka Barkly Highway) as such being that it was the conduit between the mining town of Duchess in the south and the border town of Camooweal in the north west.
For decades Camooweal Street was known as the main street, the longest street and by far the widest one in Mount Isa.
The width was a necessity for bullock trains to be able to turn around.
And as the mine prospered, so too did Mount Isa with three new suburbs being built during the 1950s.
MIMAG held a competition to name the new suburbs and the associated streets in the suburbs.
Two winners were announced, D.J. Ratcliffe and D. Lowry, for giving name to Soldiers Hill in 1955, as their common theme was the Pacific campaign of World War II.
The chosen roads and streets are named after colourful names made famous by Australians during the war; Owen Stanley Road, Markham Road and Kokoda Road were joined by Bougainville, Wewak, Lae, Finschafen, Buna, Wau, Rabual, Marauke, Tarakan and Salamaua Streets.
The following year, 1956, the MIMAG and Cloncurry Shire Council again sponsored another street naming contest for the new area of Happy Valley.
A very happy Mr Leechman of the Assay Office took home Five Guineas (£5/5/-) for naming the streets after Australian gemstones.
He chose Opal Street for Australia's national gemstone and because it is the longest street in the new suburb.
Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire Streets were named for the Queensland gems, while Crystal and Topaz can be mined in each state.
The middle 1950s proved a bonanza for the building industry as yet another area needed street naming; the suburb now known as Miles End.
Urquhart, Hilton, Davidson, O'Doherty, Skewes and Kennedy Streets were all named in honour of the early mining pioneers be they gougers or mine personnel.
The Gap was aptly named as it grew around the base and through the gap of an outshoot of the Selwyn Range.
And for Healy residents your streets were named after the builders and suppliers associated with constructing the various suburbs in Mount Isa.
J.D. Morris & Sons, J.H. Burton & Co., Todd & Associates, Transfield, Thiess and Steelcon are a few of the many companies that either built or provided materials for Healy and other suburbs.
The suburb of Pioneer honours a number of the early citizens through names such as Noakes, Boyd, Kaeser, Tadman and Walton Streets, many names with family still living and working in Mount Isa.
In other instances, naming of the streets was left to the Town Planning Department, firstly of Cloncurry Shire Council followed by Mount Isa Shire Council before it became Mount Isa City Council.
As Nat King Cole and our pioneers would sing ... "It's just a little street where old friends meet."
Researched and written by Kim-Maree Burton www.kimmareeburton.com
Information sought from Cloncurry Advocate, MIMAG, Mount Isa News, Mt Isa Mail and the North West Star.