Mount Isa is mourning the sad loss of one of its great family historians, Ailsa Bray.
Mrs Bray died peacefully with family by her side at the Mount Isa Hospital on Friday,July 24, aged 87.
Mrs Bray was the mainstay of the Mount Isa Family and Historical Society which closed its doors in 2015 after 34 years.
She established the Society in 1981 with an advertisement in the North West Star to form a branch of Genealogy Society of Brisbane.
"In the beginning we were solely a genealogy society; tracing your family tree. We did that right up until 2008," Mrs Bray said in 2015.
"The only records at that stage were those which had been donated by Mount Isa Mines in their historical collection but we got new members who were active in going out bush, looking for old mines, ruins, lone graves and they researched through old records and government gazettes and gradually built up a history of all the little towns and mines and camps along the Cloncurry mineral fields."
Her friend Ros Loveday said she had the honour of assisting Ailsa and Mrs Comerford in the local and family history room of the Mount Isa Library.
"Ailsa and Desley were members of the now defunct Mount Isa Family History Society which had its base in the grounds of Good Shepherd. Ailsa and Desley had a large role in ensuring that the society's records were re-located to a special room in the Mount Isa Library," Ms Loveday said..
"Ailsa remained sharp and witty and never forgot anything about Mount Isa's history. She understood the importance of maps in understanding history."
Ms Loveday said Ailsa's complete recall of North Western mining history will be difficult to be equalled, let alone surpassed.
"She exemplified the concept of life long learning. Just before the library was forced to shut down research facilities, Ailsa requested that I find her information about First Nations' tradition of Songlines," she said.
"Every day, Ailsa perused The North West Star and cut out articles of historical significance and funeral notices. These cuttings were added to the holdings. I will miss her and have become a better person for having worked and learnt from her. As with any community, to lose an elder who passes on the history not recorded in the written records as well as embodying cultural traditions, we are the poorer for this lost."
Ailsa Bray was buried at Sunset Lawn Cemetery after a service on August 4 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church.
She was survived by husband Michael (Mick), her children Julie, Geoff, Susan, Jenni and David, daughter-in-law Tracy, son-law Duncan. grandchildren Karyn, Kane, Emily and Cameron, sister Lois and extended family.
READ ALSO: Northern Australia minister visits Mount Isa
While you are here, subscribe to our weekly email delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.