Mount Morgan is a town and Local Government Area located in central Queensland, Australia. It is situated on the Dee River, 38 kilometres south of the city of Rockhampton, and is 680 kilometres north of the state capital, Brisbane. The Burnett Highway passes through the town. Town population is 3500. The town is the administrative centre of the Mount Morgan Shire. It is also the site of Queensland’s most polluted river (the Dee River).
Mount Morgan was founded as a gold mining town in 1882, and has over time produced gold, silver and copper. Among those making a fortune from this mine was William Knox D’Arcy. D’Arcy used his fortune to finance oil exploration in Iran, which led to the formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now BP).
The mine finally closed in 1981, having produced vast quantities of gold during its lifetime. During the mining operation, most of the mountain was mined away, and the town now lies adjacent to a 300 m deep acid-water filled pit. Mining companies still prospect today in the area, and plans to extract further gold from tailings at the mine site are always under development. The Queensland Government, through its Department of Natural Resources Mines and Water have begun a rehabilitation project of the minesite.
Tourism plays a large part in the economy of the town today. A number of historic buildings still exist in the town, and tourists can take excursions to the remains of the mine. The original rack railway (Mt Morgan Rack Railway) from Rockhampton is long gone, and the town itself is no longer connected to the rail grid. There is a regular bus service between Rockhampton and Mt Morgan are provided by Young’s Bus Service.
Mount Morgan is known to hold the Golden Mount Festival in the main street (pictured right) at the end of April or the start of May as part of the Labour Day holiday. The festival usually starts on a Friday and finishes the next Monday. The Morgan Street is closed to vehicles during Saturday of the Festival for the day for markets and activities such as floats and “Running the Cutter” races.