Moranbah Historical Information

In the late 1960’s, the Utah Development Coal Mining Company intentionally designed the community of Moranbah under the approval of the Bjelke-Petersen Government (Isaac Regional Council 2012).  Utah Development Coal Mining Company promoted the development of a company constructed and managed town to house the workforce required for coal exportation from their planned Goonyella and Peak Downs Mines.  On 5 March 1970, the Central Queensland News delivered the headline ‘Moranbah Designed for Living in Comfort’ to the Australia people.  From that moment on, a clearing in the bush would become a thriving coal mining industry and the flourishing community of Moranbah.  Utah Mining’s original design of the community of Moranbah held housing provision for 2,200 mine workers and their families through the construction of 435 homes, and a further 115 homes for support workers.  The original mine workers and their families started their stay in Moranbah by living in one of the modest caravans in the Coal Country Caravan Park on Belyando Avenue until their permanent homes were constructed.  This would have been an interesting experience for these early residents, as there were no services in town, the summer months brought temperatures in the low forties, no air conditioning, and the 200 kilometre drive to Mackay would make most people quaver, as the roads were predominately one lane and unpaved during the early 1970’s.

The master plan that Utah Development Coal Mining company designed included: two main shopping centres, a post office, emergency services, a hospital. general practitioner services, churches, a library, Moranbah State School and the Moranbah State High School that opened in 1971, and finger parks in each section of the community.  They developed sporting facilities that were beyond what most rural towns would ever imagine.  Moranbah proudly boasted some of the best facilities of any town in Central Queensland, including a skate park, public swimming pools, rugby league, AFL, hockey, soccer, tennis, off-road racing, motocross, BMX club, and a 9-hole golf course.  Testaments to these great sporting facilities are the famous rugby exports born and bred in Moranbah, including Josh Hannay and Clinton Schifcofske.

Forty years later, this region boosts coal mines, mineral mines, and medium and large quarries, which have fundamentally transformed the community of Moranbah.  These changes in the region have made Moranbah a modern town brimming with activity.  Unlike other Central Queensland (CQ) towns like Tieri and Glenden, the town’s population, according to the Bowen Basins Population Report 2012, consists of 8,990 permanent residents and 4,585 non-resident workers on-shift.  This increase in population has seen an expansion of homes to 3,600, and created a demand for opening and expanding private enterprises and businesses (Salt 2011, Queensland Treasury Office of Economic and Statistical Research 2012).

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